The world can be a scary place, but amidst all the darkness, there are still people that can restore one's faith in humanity. Cozy up, because these heartwarming stories make everything worth it.
I was in Barcelona with my father. It was my tenth birthday, so he took me for a vacation to just chill, see the city, and have some father-son time. Anyhow, we decided to take one of these two-story red buses that rides around the city, and you can jump on and off as you'd like.
Obviously, as Norwegian tourists, we wanted the top floor. He told me to go grab us a seat while he paid for our tickets. The bus driver was rather impatient and started driving while people bought tickets.
As my dad walks up the stairs and has barely had his feet on the top floor for more than two seconds, some random Asian guy in his mid-40 jumps out from his seat and pushes my dad down so he also goes down himself and hits the floor. I was horrified—and then I realized why he’d done it.
The bus just drove under this tiny bridge of stone and would have literally crushed my father’s skull if this smiling Chinese man in his mid-forties didn't leap forward and push him.
I was meant to go on a date with a guy I’d liked for ages, but I got suddenly, dramatically sick and ended up in hospital. I messaged the night before to cancel and when I explained why, he was like “obviously I’ll just come and visit you”. Being hospitalized, I wasn’t at my best. I probably looked the worst I’d ever looked.
He turned up with a book of "100 unbelievable facts" because he figured the right thing was to give books to people stuck in the hospital, and that had been all he’d had on hand. He had no idea what he was in for.
The staff immediately started harassing him about whether or not he was my boyfriend, and then he sat through a really lengthy, over-the-top lecture about a medical condition that I have.
His only response to the whole thing was that I was beautiful and it had been good not to miss out on spending that time with me. Anyway, I married him.
I am a cashier at Walmart. A lady (maybe in her 30s) who you could obviously tell didn't have much money, came through my line with groceries that added up to being just under $300.
When she tried using her debit card, it kept getting declined. She got really embarrassed and started apologizing to those behind her and then to me, and she said she would just take all the food back because she couldn't afford them. Then a miracle happened.
A man that was three customers behind her in line started saying "excuse me" to those in front of him and he made his way to the front. He pulled out his debit card and paid for her groceries.
She started crying (and I did, too). She began asking the man for his phone number so she could pay him back one day, but he refused. So, he paid with his own money—he didn't even use a credit card.
I've had a few different experiences like this while working as a cashier, but none like that. It touched my heart.
Some years ago I was flying to Miami, through NY from across the Atlantic, to start my one-year backpacking trip from the US to Colombia. I had worked for two years, saving money for this trip while living at my parents.
I had all my money in cash, with my plane ticket, passport, and driver's license in a plastic envelope. I promptly put the envelope in the compartment in the seat in front of me and fell asleep during the flight. I leave the plane, my uncle picks me up from the airport, and drives me to his house.
Two days later, I make a horrific realization. I realize I don't have the envelope with me and I panic. I figure out that I must've left it in the plane, so I immediately call the airport and the airline. I get to the point where a lady is talking to me from the same seat I sat in and says that there is nothing to be found.
Naturally, I'm devastated. I spent one of the worst days of my life. Then stars align in the most bizarre way. I get a call from a friend of mine who tells me he's in NY and has been looking for my phone number for three days!
He tells me that during the flight he started feeling nauseated and goes to grab the paper bag to relieve himself, when he finds $6,500 in cash and my passport and driver’s license. He can't believe his eyes.
He then proceeded to wire the money and FedEx the documents, basically saving my life. The year I spent backpacking was one of the best experiences I've had and wouldn't trade it for anything. This happened nine years ago, and I call my friend every April 23rd to thank him and destiny for saving my butt.
It was my first date with my now-wife. We had plans to go to a fancy Italian restaurant. I show up a bit early, dressed as nice as my wardrobe allows, and grab a couple drinks before she gets there. Anyways, she arrives and we enjoy dinner, drinks, appetizers, and dessert. The works.
When it’s time for the check, the waitress comes over and says something that makes our jaws drop: “A person who prefers to remain anonymous picked up y’all’s tab and told me to tell y’all to continue to enjoy the night”. We were both shocked.
I wasn’t keeping tabs but this was an expensive meal we just had. I tipped well of course, and I thought to myself the only reason anyone would do that is they saw an obvious first date unfolding and thought we were cute, happy, genuine, or something like that.
We both felt pretty special and eventually paid it forward to another young couple years later.
When I was younger I had parents who were horrible, like really terrible parents. One night in the middle of a snowstorm they threw me outside in the snow with no shoes or socks and in a t-shirt. It was freezing cold.
I was wandering around the neighborhood behind the houses because I was too embarrassed. Suddenly, a neighbor of mine, (around 17 years old) was sitting on his window smoking and looking at the snow. He saw me and asked what I was doing. I just gave him this look—and he did the unthinkable.
He leaned out his window, grabbed me by the arms, and hauled me up into his window. He gave me some blankets and let me sit there in the warmth for a while and we just small-talked and he put on a movie. A little while later my mother came by, saw him, and asked if he had seen me.
He instantly, without hesitating, told her no, and watched until she left before helping me back home. At the time, it was the kindest thing anyone had ever done for me. The only person who had ever protected me from my parents.
Since then I've always been doing my best to help my friends and acquaintances from their difficult families or relationships.
I was driving home from work one day after a long, heavy rain. I had also been having a bad day for some reason, can't even remember now what had happened though. Anyway, three teenage boys were standing on the sidewalk waving for cars to drive through a huge puddle on the street, and there were so far, no takers.
They were waving at me now. We locked eyes. I gave a firm, satisfied smile and a single, knowing nod. They cheered and jumped up and down and moved right to the edge of the curb. I dropped into four-wheel drive and hit the puddle as fast as I could. I unleashed the entire puddle on them.
They were still cheering as they passed out of sight in my rear-view mirror. I smiled the whole way home.
I actually won a free dinner at a local three-star restaurant recently—however, though the food was free, the drinks weren’t. I knew a guy who was down on his luck so I asked him if he wanted to have the dinner with me. He accepted graciously as he was living off of ramen noodles and living with a friend.
We had a great meal and I had a few lagers during the meal, yet he had water. The meal was coming to an end and I asked him if he wanted something to drink besides water. He told me that he could not afford it as he knew that drinks like that were not included in our meal. But I had just the plan.
I "went to the bathroom" and asked the waiter to give him a margarita and tell my friend that it was on the house. When I got back, my friend looks at me and just smiled as half of his margarita was gone.
We stayed at that restaurant for another hour talking about the good times of our friendship while drinking, on my tab. He is one of my best friends today and is doing much better in life now.
When I was 19 years old, I was with my best friend on a trip to New York from Vancouver, Canada. We were staying in Times Square but we went to a concert in Long Island and ended up taking really late transit home. Enter the creeps.
A man and a woman clearly high on something get on the train and sit across from my scrawny pale friend and my equally scrawny self. They start to inexplicably pick a fight with us, accusing us of making fun of them or something. I don't know, probably just an excuse to beat the snot out of us and maybe take whatever we have on us.
The man becomes physically threatening when out of nowhere, an exceptionally large man with a thick New York accent says, "Out of the way, fatty needs a seat" to me, temporarily defusing the situation—but he didn’t stop there.
He then proceeds to pull jawbreakers out of his pocket and hands them to my friend and me while telling a story of the jawbreakers he used to steal from kids at school. When the creepy couple gets belligerent again, the huge dude instantly changes the topic to his current bodyguard job and tells stories of smashing people's faces into cement walls and putting bad people into the hospital.
The creep shut up and got his girlfriend off of the train at the next stop, and we rode the rest of the way back to the hotel with this awesome dude talking about our favorite candies and the fastest ways to get to the center of a jawbreaker. I will be forever grateful for this guy for rescuing me from this weird situation.
Very welcoming first night in New York!
I arrived 30 minutes early to do my makeup in the car. Saw him pull in 15 minutes later, but he didn’t see me. He got out and started walking to the cafe we agreed to meet at. That's when I saw something that touched me deeply.
A homeless man walks up to him. I see him go back to his car to get change. I never told him I saw what he did, but I definitely went into the date more excited and less nervous.
I didn't have the best childhood. My adoptive father has some unconventional parenting methods, and so I used to cry a lot. On one such occasion, I was sitting on a park bench, crying softly to myself. I was trying to be discreet but I couldn't have been more than 11 or 12 at the time. An old lady sat at the other end of the bench and we sat in relative silence for a few minutes (I would sniffle occasionally but I was trying to be quiet).
She clearly noticed me wiping my eyes and asked me if I was okay. I told her I was, but she insisted on taking me to a nearby coffee cart and buying me a cup of hot chocolate (it was winter). It was the nicest thing she could have done for me and it was really nice to know that someone cared. I’ll never forget this kind woman.
I was in a foreign country so I didn't have a car and it was a weekend of a public holiday so there was very little public transportation. A friend and I had gone to explore the city and managed to walk quite a distance from our hotel. While we were out, over an hour away, disaster struck. It started raining harder than I can ever remember seeing.
It was gorgeous when we left, but ridiculously cold and rainy on the way back. My buddy had brought a coat, but I was in a t-shirt. A lady walking down the street towards us with her umbrella stopped me and insisted I take her umbrella. I tried to refuse, but she insisted, telling me that her place was just around the corner.
I was already drenched, but it sure did help to walk the remaining several miles with an umbrella instead of just my t-shirt. I try to pay it forward by being generous whenever I have something I don't need. Rather than just repaying the one event, I want to be the kind of person that lady was. Spread the kindness around.
I was new to the area, and we met at a restaurant in a town I wasn't familiar with. We had a great date but when I went to go home in my car, he noticed I accidentally turned on the service road instead of the highway.
He followed me and flagged me down to let me know I'd gone the wrong way. This was long before cell phones and GPS, and I didn't have a map of the area. I would have been super lost in the middle of the night. I was like, wow this is a super nice guy! That was 22 years ago and we're still together.
This happened to me a few years ago and is making me tear up still thinking about it. My husband is in the navy, and due to deployment, he missed the birth of our son and would be missing his first Christmas, too. We were devastated by this.
It was Thanksgiving week, and my husband had duty, so he had to spend the night on the boat. We had very little money, but I really wanted to decorate the house for Christmas a little and get a tiny tree. I maybe had $40 for both tree and decorations.
So, I go to a certain orange home improvement chain store and unfortunately, I learned that they started selling their real trees on Black Friday, but my husband would be gone by then. I found a worker, explained my situation, and asked if they could possibly sell me one earlier.
The lady talked to her manager for a minute, then led me outside to the locked tree area. I ask her which ones were the cheapest, and her response brought me to tears: Her manager said to let me have any tree I wanted for FREE!
Because of their kindness, I was able to give my husband an amazing first Christmas with our firstborn. And the look on his face when he walked in and saw everything decked out was absolutely priceless. I will never forget those kind people.
It was my first time going into the city by myself; I'd seen a Facebook post online for an event with alternative music and thought "Ah, what the heck, I'll check it out". I knew no one there, the event went late into the night, and I'd only just moved here from living in country towns all my life. I didn't even know how I was supposed to order a drink.
I'd been wandering around for a bit looking absolutely lost, when this guy came up to me and said, "You look lonely". He brought me over to his friend group, and I ended up hanging out with them for quite a while.
Unfortunately, I was also completely unaware of my own tolerance and ended up feeling very tired. I was falling asleep on this guy, until the staff came over and told me I had to leave as they didn't want me passing out there.
He came with me, offering to make sure I got onto the train safely, and it turned out we lived within a 20-minute walk of each other, so he came with me. He walked me right up to the door, then walked home in the dark alone, messaging me the next day to make sure I was okay.
Unfortunately, I didn't see how sweet he was at the time, but eventually, we got together, and he has stayed with me through so much in life. We have been together around two and a half years now
Half a decade or so ago, I was in the throes of a devastating depression. My provincial government had declared me to be unemployable because of the severity of my illness. They paid for me to see professionals for help, and put me on social assistance so I could pay rent.
After weeks and months of therapy and going back and forth between my therapist, psychiatrist, and family doctor, I finally had a meeting with my social case worker. She asked me how my treatment was going, and then said some things that the others did not.
She told me things like, "You don't belong here. You're intelligent, charismatic, and dedicated”. Then she asked me the question that changed my life. "If money and illness were not an issue, what would you be doing with your life?"
I timidly told her that I had, before my depression, wanted to go to a Buddhist Abbey on the other side of the country and try Buddhist monasticism for a year. She asked me what it would take to get me there and I told her the cost of living and transportation.
Then she made me a very real offer: "If you can save to cover the cost of living, I will buy you a ticket to get out there. We'll make your dream come true”. Then, something inside of me clicked. Without saying so directly, she told me that she believed in my dreams, she validated my aspirations and wanted to help me to get there.
A total stranger whose only job was to make sure I was complying with the government's rules about being in the social assistance program...it struck me in a way that nothing else had before.
Very quickly over the next several days and weeks, my depression mostly lifted. It lifted enough for me to be able to find and hold down a job. During this time I met my biological father for the first time and, to this day, we have a very good relationship.
I never did go to that Abbey; the cost of living was out of my league (even though it was, at the time, only about $6,000), and I'm now living a very good life with my boyfriend of over a year. But I'll never forget the way that woman saw something in me that made her believe in me, and how that caused me to start believing in myself again.
After a virus as a kid, my body was borked to the point where, when this story takes place, I can’t walk very well at all and I'm weak as a kitten. I can walk a little, even though I look ridiculous whilst doing it. I do need a wheelchair to get around, but I don't own one at the moment.
There are reasons for this, but I won’t go into them now. So long story short, I'm housebound a lot, can't do many fun activities that people usually like sharing, and I'm a pain to hang out with. I tend to need propping up if walking longer than just down my garden path, I can be embarrassing because of how I look when I walk, how out of breath I get because of the stiffness and pain etc.
I didn't think I'd find anyone to put up with any of this. My experiences just confirmed this suspicion. I've had massive blows to my confidence. I had one incredibly painful heartbreak. I've had people being cruel.
I stopped trusting people. I thought that I had pretty much no luck left when it came to dating. That my situation was just too far gone. But then everything changed. I got brave on OkCupid. I don't know where I got that courage from after everything, but I saw a guy and I messaged him.
I was very honest on my profile about my disability, and that caused me to not get many replies or messages at all. Plus, if we're honest, I'm not a hottie—at least not enough for people to overlook the other stuff. I really liked the sound of this guy, really did.
But I had liked the sound of guys before, people I had lots in common with, and never got replies. I definitely wouldn't get a reply from this guy…He replied. And he kept replying.. Then we kept chatting. Then we met up in my home town.
I remember the first time seeing him face to face. I knew he was quite good-looking from his pictures…but they did not do him justice. My legs would have turned to jelly, if they weren't pretty much jelly already.
My first thought was 'Welp, I'm screwed. Let’s be honest, a guy that good-looking doesn't need to bother with a slightly unattractive disabled girl no matter how great we get on”. The words “Welp, I'm screwed” were literally in my head as I looked at his face, as he said hello.
I was smiling at myself. He probably thought I was just being happy, smiling politely. I was actually smiling morbidly at myself in an “Oh god, this is so ridiculous, what am I doing, why did I agree to this, when is he going to start running” way. I was proven so wrong.
After that first meet, he kept bothering with me. Then one time, he bothered to kiss me. I've gotten on brilliantly well with guys before, but it's mostly ended up with them referring to me as “bro”—not a kiss. I was so nervous. Oh God, I had forgotten how to kiss…but that's okay. He just kept doing it.
I'm still sitting here, not really understanding how I got so lucky. I still worry that he won’t put up with me being disabled for long, but he doesn't seem to have a problem with it for now. He offers to take me places, tells me he'll make sure I get around okay.
I feel like I'm somehow tricking him, sometimes. He looks at me and treats me like I'm just another human being, another worthwhile human being. It's been a while since that happened. He looks at me in a way that I didn't really look at myself.
I must be tricking him into doing that. It's confusing to me. Is he just going to snap out of it one day? Or perhaps someone is tricking me. This is all a big joke. Then I remember the time we were sitting in my room, watching a film, and he had his arm around me, my head on his chest.
I remember how he was stroking my back with his fingers. I remember him tracing a love heart on my bare skin. I remember smiling, and cuddling up closer to him as he kissed the top of my head. And remembering that makes me think things will be okay, at least for a while.
I was working at a Longhorn Steakhouse as a hostess, and one day this family came in with a severely handicapped (physically and mentally) daughter. They were paying with coupons, and while bussing the table next to them I heard them saying that they wanted dessert, but couldn’t afford it.
I walked up and awkwardly asked if I could buy them one because their daughter reminded me of my uncle, and I missed him. It gets even more tear-jerking. They seemed delighted and told me that the reason they wanted dessert was that it was their daughter’s birthday, and introduced me to Crystal.
I bought their dessert and said goodbye after a pretty long conversation. Crystal came in about three months later and still remembered me as the girl with the cake and almost got my name (Kara instead of Sarah), which is pretty rare. It’s one of my happiest achievements.
I was an exchange student in Japan. My friends and I were visiting Kobe for the weekend. Of the three of us, I spoke the most Japanese, but even that was intermediate level at the very best. Predictably, we got lost. It was late and cold and we had nowhere to stay (we hadn't booked a room or anything). We were passing a karaoke place.
It's pretty common for someone to be standing outside of these places yelling about deals and shoving flyers at you. We were so desperate at this point that I asked the guy for help finding a place to stay. He tried to describe a place but even though I could understand most of what he said, we didn't have a map, smartphones, or know any street names, so his directions were useless.
The guy paused, looked around, and then started running, waving for us to follow. He personally led three foreigners who had no intention of spending money at his karaoke place through the streets at night, apparently at great risk to himself because he seemed absolutely panicked about getting back to his job quickly, even though he took us right to the door of a place where we could stay. We collected every yen we had and shoved it at the guy, but he threw up his hands, seemed aghast, and wouldn't accept a dime.
When I was getting off the bus in high school, some jerk decided he didn't want to wait behind the bus so he tried passing on the left. I should have been hit, but right before, some guy getting into his car whistled at me. I stopped and turned around to see who it was. That gesture probably saved my life.
My ex-husband was one of the biggest jerks ever, but there was one kind thing he did for a stranger that blew me away…
He was a hardcore Atlanta Braves fanatic; he specifically idolized Chipper Jones. We went to fan fest several years ago and paid extra for those passes that take you right to the front of the line so you can meet more players and get more autographs. They mark off the names from your pass when you enter the line, so that way you don’t keep going back through for the same player.
We were standing in line for autographs for some player—I don’t even remember who exactly—so his name had already been marked from our passes. But while we were still in line that player switched out with Chipper. We got to meet him, and my ex was absolutely ecstatic.
So, when we were done, we realized Chipper’s name had not been marked off our passes. I asked my ex if he wanted to go through again. Instead, he suggested we find a little kid with a Chipper jersey on and give the pass to him! So, we did exactly that, and I gave mine to the kid’s dad. They were completely stoked!
Seriously I teared up when it happened. I was so proud of him. That little boy must have had the best day ever and it made my day to witness.
The moment I knew I was gonna marry this man was when we went grocery shopping. It was about 9 pm, and we had both just been paid at work. The young lady in line in front of us had a very young baby and was paying with coupons and a food stamp card. Her total came to about $22, and she was holding a $20.
She looked dejected and put back the one and only thing that was probably her splurge, a candy bar, and an energy drink. Other than that, she had baby food, diapers, chicken, rice, bananas, formula, wipes, the bare minimum. I turned around to tell my now-husband to hand me my wallet. I didn't have to.
He already had his out, took out a $50 bill, handed it to her, and told her to keep the change. He changed her week, and at the same time, he changed my life. That was the moment I knew he was it for me.
I had to work the Christmas Eve to Christmas Day shift at a 24/7 gas station and was feeling pretty annoyed about it. Parents kept running in to buy tape, batteries, candy, etc. Then, around 2 am, some guy came in looking for tape, but the last one had just been sold an hour earlier.
So, I gave him the roll of tape we keep behind the counter and said, "Here's my Christmas gift to you". He thanked me and ran back to the car. An hour later, he came back with the leftover tape, thanked me profusely, and handed me a $20 bill, saying, "You saved Christmas for my kids. This is my Christmas gift to you".
I struggled with obesity my whole life. I had always been overweight, but once I hit 18 I ballooned up past the 300 mark. I had to buy size 48 pants for a job I had. I would say at my biggest I was pushing the 340-350.
I honestly couldn’t tell you because I would only weigh myself every so often. I managed to get down to about 310 after switching from working in retail to a restaurant, but I still was around 310-315ish. Then I finally had an epiphany. I decided enough was enough.
I was going through a rough time in my life with a bad breakup and decided to use my negativity towards something positive. I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t sit around and drink myself stupid feeling sorry for myself, so I started exercising.
I then had an idea to train for a full marathon. My best friend had run one, so it was pretty much like “If he can do it, why can't I?" So, slowly but surely I changed my ways. I stopped eating so much and started working out like a madman.
Fast forward nine months and I am down to less than 200 pounds. Fast forward another three months and I ran my first ever race, finishing in at 3:47, which for a newbie is pretty impressive. Now I am a runner who trains 6 times a week, runs as a pacer for major running events in the area, and will hope to beat my PR of 3:22 this fall.
It took me so long and so many failed attempts at losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle, and when I finally made it work it felt so good.
When I was younger, about 14, I was in a car accident with a group of friends. The car rolled, and there were four of us in the car. My friend and I made it out with scrapes and bruises, but the other two suffered severe injuries, and one, unfortunately, passed a few days later.
I suffered extreme PTSD and would not go anywhere near a car for the next year. To leave the hospital, I walked half of the way because I was so terrified of vehicles. I also had survivor's guilt, and nothing I did seem to help it.
How can you go on living for someone and make up for both of the lives, yours and the other person's? But, one day about a year later, my mom called and told me that she was stranded in a bad neighborhood and her car had stalled.
She asked if I could come and pick her up. At first I asked her to call my dad, but he was busy at work, away from his phone. So, I got into the car and just drove. It sounds so simple, but the entire time I was going about 30 mph under the speed limit.
I was sweating, about to hyperventilate, and it was excruciating. Eventually, I got my mom and we made it home safely. By the way, no one knew the severity of my PTSD. They all just assumed it had passed in the year following the accident.
I sat in the car and sobbed into the steering wheel, because I finally realized that I could drive again, and it was really cathartic. Driving was something that I had really enjoyed. I know it sounds so minute and insignificant, but overcoming PTSD is one of the most challenging things in the world, and I hope I never have to experience it again.
I just recently drove from Tennessee to New Mexico for a summer trip. You see so much of the country from driving.
I only had a few dates with someone I was dating rather long distance. I was stationed on Sardegna, and she lived in Liguria, so just to have a date required ferries and long train rides, and sometimes short flights, which were always a hassle. But we tried to make it work.
My ship would go to Toulon, France, or Naples, Italy, and we'd tried to meet up, even if only for a few hours. On our 4th or 5th date, my ship was going to Livorno, so we agreed to try to meet up in Pisa. Seemed like a plan, and doable. But right before leaving, I felt terrible.
I thought maybe it would pass, but it didn't. The train ride was insufferable, I was burning with a fever and chills, the whole nine yards. All I remember was pulling into Pisa, and there she was, on the platform, waiting for my train. I stepped off the train, and literally just passed out in her arms. I mean, out cold.
I woke up in a hotel bed, and she was sitting there, holding a cup of tea for me. Apparently, right after I passed out, she grabbed a taxi driver, and together they dragged me across the street to the nearest hotel, she got a room, and put me to bed. And then just sat there, all night watching me.
I have no memory of any of that. I just woke up in a bed with her holding a cup of tea. Because she saw that I was starting to stir, she went to get me a cup of tea. I just remember thinking: Dang, I need to marry this woman. I did. And that was the last cup of tea the woman ever made me.
Not my story, but my boyfriend's: he was working at Pep Boys and a couple came in with their child, who was holding a stuffed Pikachu. He took one look and knew just what to do. When my boyfriend rang them up, he asked for the kid's Pikachu. He took it and pretended to scan it, and then said, "We've restored your Pokemon to full health. We hope to see you again!" The little kid jumped for joy, apparently.
One grocery week when I was in college I had my card declined. This was a bit of a problem as the kitchen was entirely out of food and I wasn't going to be paid for another week. It was really awkward being at the front of the line with $100 worth of groceries and having a hasty conversation with my girlfriend about how we were going to deal with this. That’s when I heard a voice behind me.
Another guy in line offered to pay for our groceries. I tried to talk him down but he insisted and I was feeling really awkward holding up the line. I thanked him profusely and he told me word for word "Just pay it forward if you ever get the chance".
Ever since, I've been jamming a dollar or two into every donation box I see, tipping an extra 5%, giving my change to the homeless, and otherwise looking for opportunities to “Pay it Forward”.
I was 15 and I owned a moped. It was late and raining and this car did not see me as it turned left across my lane. I was T-boned going about 30 mph (48 km/h). The car hit me right in my left thigh and my upper body hit and rebounded off of the hood.
I flew maybe 20 feet (six meters) before hitting the pavement. My left thigh snapped in two when the car hit me. I'm laying on the ground screaming for help when this guy comes up and kneels down with a knee on either side of my head so I can't move it around.
He does his best to keep me calm and keep the rain off of me until the EMS guys show up and put me in traction and take me to the hospital. During that time the guy is asking me my name and address, making sure I'm coherent.
After they took me away he drove to my parents’ house and informed them that I was in an accident and mostly okay, and that they should go to the hospital to see me. He wanted to make sure they got there as soon as possible and thought it would be less jarring than the authorities showing up at their door.
I never got a chance to thank him either but I think about him and his kindness from time to time. I hope one day I can do something similar for someone in distress.
In middle school, I went to my first dance. I was so terrified to ask a girl to dance, I just felt so awkward. Then one of my female classmates, her name was Mary, came and asked me to dance. It was a small gesture, but it changed everything.
She said she could tell I wasn't having fun and wanted to help me enjoy myself. It turned the whole experience around, and I was so happy. I felt so much better about myself after that.
From that point onward I always try to make dances/parties/shindigs fun for someone who looks miserable. It doesn't have to be a girl, I'll try and strike up a conversation with anyone. Once someone starts feeling at ease, they usually loosen up and start enjoying themselves. It doesn't always work, but I always give it a shot.
Okay, this is so "persnickety," but I hate, hate, hate the sound of people eating. It's just this weird thing. Going to a movie, and someone sitting behind me with a large tub of popcorn chomping away is almost unbearable. I know, I know, it’s picky.
I had been on lots of dates where we'd sit down, then someone sits down behind us with a mega-tub of popcorn, chomping and slurpity-slurping their mega drinks, and I would turn to my date and ask timidly if maybe we could move.
The responses would vary from "Why?" to "Sure, go ahead, I'm staying here," to the point where I just stopped asking and would suffer in silence. So, I go on a date with this one guy. We sit down. A big popcorn eater with a tub sits right behind us and starts going to town. It was bad.
So I very very tentatively look over at my date, only to see that he is also very tentatively looking over at me with the same exact look on his face and without a word, we both got up and moved.
We've been married for 44 years now. We still make each other laugh and we can still just sit and talk to each other for hours. In fact, we just got back from a trip to Paris where every day we would just stroll around, then find a cafe, then sit and chat for an hour or so, then walk some more, then lunch. It was just wonderful!
And we still hate the sound of people chomping their food.
My friend and I got pedicures together today, and she asked the Vietnamese lady who owns the shop where the best place is to get pho in our town. The lady said, "My house", so in the morning, my friend is going to the shop owner's house to pick up a Tupperware full of pho! They're both very happy.
I was out on the streets for five days after a huge fight with my parents. I slept outside, in the park, or wherever I could. To buy food, and general items needed, I had brought my guitar to play and raise some money. After an especially rough night/morning, my best friend and I were really needing some food, so we hiked it to the city park and started playing.
A homeless man walked up, mid-song, sat, and listened in silence until I finished. When he looked up, he just smiled. I'll never forget what he said to me: "It's not much, but I want you to take whatever I have in my pockets. Thank you for reminding me how beautiful life can be". All he gave us was 40 cents, but I appreciated his sacrifice so much more than anybody else’s.
On our first date, something just felt different about her, but I couldn't really tell what. Maybe she just felt comfortable to be with.
We had a lot of fun, went dancing, and got plastered on New Year's Eve 1980-81. The next morning, I was hungover and didn't have any food. I called her and told her, and she asked to come over and make me breakfast.
I was painting the garage door and told her and she came over to help me. She also didn't care I didn't have money. It was a small town and people knew that, so a lot of girls wouldn't go out with me because it was evident by my cheap car and apartment. She didn't care, though.
If I didn't have enough money to go out, she would pitch in so we would go on a cheap date. My parents passed soon after, which was terrible, but I became rich overnight. The girls in town who turned me down before actually were asking me out. I told them too late. This is honest truth.
I married the woman who didn't care and now I was buying her a nice house, nice new car, and a fat diamond ring. Justice done. We've been married since 1984.
My mom lost her favorite watch on the beach when we were on vacation in Mexico. Three or four days later, we are sitting around the hotel pool and she mentions something about being bummed about the lost watch.
The family sitting next to us happens to overhear. "You lost a watch? We just found one on the beach earlier today!" They bring it down from their room. Lo and behold, it's the same watch!
It still worked, too, despite the finish being all scratched up from tumbling around in the sand and salt water. This was probably 7 or 8 years ago. The dad of the family had a pretty sweet cheeseburger tattoo on his shoulder that I still remember. Claimed his grandfather invented the cheeseburger.
Got hooked on some bad habits. Failed a lot of exams and got thrown out of school for causing an accident involving a lot of sodium in the chemistry lab...That led to me being thrown out of my home. So I moved in with my grandparents, kicked the habits, and pretty much started from scratch.
Two years later, I'm waiting to hear back on the grades from my last exams knowing that I haven't failed a single one (a few low grades but no fails). I've also achieved 10 points toward an Open University degree and I've been offered several university places.
I'm not the person I was two years ago. I've also recently come off medication for anxiety and panic attacks. I'm pretty chuffed with myself.
On my first date with my past girlfriend, she saw someone struggling with a cart at the park we were at; it was a vendor closing up their food stand for the day. She got ready to leap up from the grass where we were sitting to go help the person.
No hesitation, no questions, no qualms about rudeness towards me, which it wasn't, nothing. Just this springboard of instant human recognition and kindness. The vendor got her cart over the bump she was struggling with, and my ex sat back down. But I saw it play out many times after that.
If there was a struggle or suffering, she stood up to stand in the gap. She was absolutely one of those people. No questions asked. And she had a gentle, humorous way of putting people at total ease so that they would accept her help. That first date, I knew. And I told her about it afterward.
She could not understand why I thought this was so important or why I was so impressed, but I had spent several years in an earlier time period with a selfish, self-involved, and occasionally cruel man.
I knew what the opposite of that looked like. I knew how the opposite of that could twist a person. I knew what it was like to struggle myself. And I knew she was a keeper. Because she didn't do it to impress me. She didn't look to me first. She didn't elaborately ask me for permission to excuse herself to go help. She just saw it and jumped up.
When I lost my mother, I was in pieces. I remember being at the funeral and standing in front as the people passed by to share their condolences. I don't even remember the faces as they are passing me by. Just as things were about to start for the service, I was just blubbering (I am the only child of a single mom, so my world was a bit...broken now).
After the service, one of my mom's coworkers pulled me aside. She said that my mom had asked her to give me something that she knew I would need just around this time. It was the biggest hug I had ever had and I cried on her shoulder for what felt like a million years. Diane, if you are out there, thanks. This simple gesture meant a lot.
During my first weekend of college, my friends and I ended up at a party in an apartment. I made a dumb move. I took a drink from a guy I'd just met. A few minutes later I was sitting on the stairs starting to fall asleep. A guy I didn’t know saw that something was wrong with me, gave his number to my roommate, and walked me home.
He said that he recognized what was happening to me as a sign that someone may have slipped something into my drink, and he didn't want me to be a victim because it had happened to his sister.
The first night I went out with my now-husband was pure cinematic magic. It wasn’t even technically a date; we were 25, casual friends, he was visiting my city, and he met me out.
Early in the night, there was a moment when we went to the bar to get drinks, and it was super crowded. In my memory, it felt like we were in a tunnel of people swirling around us and we were the only two people in focus in the room.
We stayed out dancing all night, I took him to see the New York City skyline, and we walked two miles back to my apartment and got street tacos at 5 am. The whole night was just like a movie. Three months later, he moved to New York, and we’ve been together for almost eight years now.
This summer, I was strolling through town when I saw a chalk game of hopscotch on the ground. But this was no ordinary game of hopscotch.
No. This stretched the entire block. There were lava pits and shortcuts. There were dragons. This was hard-core madness. Drawn by children. Drawn in chalk. Drawn on a summer day. Drawn in hours that could have been spent playing Xbox.
I discovered that imagination is alive and well. I have not worried about the next generation since.
I was pulling up to a stoplight jamming out with some friends to a Radiohead song. There was a school bus on the left of us and I looked over to see that the kids had started mimicking every move. One even pulled out the best Thom Yorke impression I have ever seen.
We all were literally freaking out and dancing, and I couldn't help but smile, laugh, and feel a little better about everything in life.
A few years ago, my brother was skiing through the woods with about two feet of fresh snow. At one point, he falls and his phone fell out of his pocket. Unfortunately for him, he didn't notice it and continued on his way.
He took the same trail on the next run and somehow got separated from his friends on the way down the mountain. So he stopped and reached for his phone to call his friend. After realizing he didn't have his phone, he starts to get pretty angry.
Then he hears a ringtone that sounds exactly like his. He started searching through the snow trying to find the source of the ringtone. Sure enough, it was his phone he heard and it was his friend calling to see where he was.
My brother lost his phone in two feet of snow in the middle of the woods and just happened to stop in the exact same place where he lost it, at the exact same time someone was calling his phone. Seems pretty miraculous to me.
I was born with a relatively minor birth defect that resulted in my left eye becoming blind and deformed, so I have a glass eye. It's amazingly well made, and very hard to tell when you meet me. It's obvious that something's wrong, but most people just assume that my working eye is lazy.
When it's out, though, I suddenly turn into Two-Face: left side of the face is droopy, eyelid's mostly closed, and there's this tiny discolored misshapen mess staring out at you from that spot where normal folks keep their left eyeball.
Every so often, the bad eye gets infected and I need to keep the prosthetic out for a few days. I can wear a patch, but they're uncomfortable and attract pirate jokes, so I tend to go all hermity when the glass eye isn't in. Normally I'm pretty confident and outgoing, but I turn into an absolute recluse.
I met a girl at a party about five years ago. She ends up dating one of my good friends. We become close. After about a year, they split up. We stay close. We decide we can never date, because that would "be weird”.
One night, she calls me and says she's going to a bar a block from my place. I respectfully decline, because it's a patch day. She won't take no for an answer. I agree to meet her for a drink and grumble my way down the street. I had no idea what I was in for.
One mopey drink turns into many. She gets me to smile. She gets me to dance. She ignores the guys saying "yarrrrrrr" every five minutes. She walks home with me. Neither of us remembers who kissed whom. I do know that she was one of the first women I was actively interested in to get me to take the patch off.
She agreed it was creepy. She didn't try to kill me with fire. That was almost five years ago. A lot's changed. We moved in together, she moved to Nevada for a job, I moved to California, she quit her job and left Nevada, she moved to California, we moved back in together.
We're engaged now. I still usually wear the patch when she's around. Usually.
This bloke genuinely saved my life. I was very young, probably about four or five and my parents were about to take me out on my first tricycle. I was sat just outside the gate to my house waiting for my parents when I had a stupid brain moment: "Hey Rael", my brain said, "you should totally just lift up your feet. Just lift them up"! I did.
I should probably mention that my house is on a very steep hill which leads directly down to a very busy road. It might also help to mention that the wee tricycle had no brakes of any kind. So pretty soon I was shooting down the hill like nobody's business. Straight towards the road. I was too frightened to even think straight.
My parents were running after me screaming "Put your feet down", but I was going too fast. I couldn't hear them and they couldn't keep up with me. Just a few meters from the road, a builder (I think he was a builder but it was a while ago) was loading up his van. He looked up and saw me.
Without a word he gracefully strode onto the pavement and as I passed he swiftly and elegantly reached out, grabbed me, and lifted me from the tricycle which then rolled over. He set me down on the ground, closed his van, jumped into the front, and drove off. Neither me nor my parents ever got to thank him.
I met a guy on the train to East Germany. We ended up partying the night away, becoming good friends, and I spent Christmas with him, his family, and his girlfriend. That was the last good meal I had before we deployed to the Gulf. I remember being blown away by how gracious and kind his parents were toward me. Plus, he bought me a New Kids on the Block Christmas album.
It was such a catastrophically poor gift but the thought was there. So now I always invite friends over for holidays and try to go overboard on gifts to friends. Thanks Thorsten.
When I was around 18 or so, my brother and some friends had a flat tire in the pouring rain. None of us had ever changed a tire, so we kind of stared at the tire and fumbled around with the "tire-changing tools" while standing in water halfway up to our knees.
All of a sudden, a businessman in a suit stops and gets out of his SUV, and changes the tire in about 30 seconds. We thank him and he run-swims back soaking wet to his SUV.
He took me to an amateur stand-up comedy night. He was heartily laughing at all the jokes. They were so bad. So not funny at all. I was planning to not go on another date with him because he obviously has a bad sense of humor. But here's the twist.
As we were walking to the car, he commented how bad everyone was, but he wanted to encourage them so he laughed at everyone’s jokes. We’ve been married for 12 years now.
I suffered a spinal cord injury, resulting in paraplegia, and my then-husband couldn't deal with that. My first date with my present boyfriend, he treated me like a human, not a disabled girl. It never came up in conversation, and he behaved like it didn't exist. It was so gorgeous that he didn’t see my wheelchair.
To this day, he's just never made it a big deal. He understands the quirks it creates, but never ever seems bothered by any of it. In fact, he spent a serious chunk of his own change putting a ramp on his house for me. I don't think we'll ever get married, but he's definitely my forever person.
My girlfriend was driving in slow traffic. I leaned over from the passenger seat and gave her a small kiss on the cheek. A guy who was driving by at just the right time for us to be able to hear him clearly, with his voice at a normal conversation volume, went: "Awwwww". It was small, but super endearing, and it really made my day.
I quickly gathered all my stuff and my coat and just exited the building. I was moving slowly to the curb once I was out the door, feeling numb from being called to an impromptu meeting and then being let go because I wasn't a "good fit for the company". Thanks… As I was waiting on the corner for the red hand to change to the white walking dude, I felt a little person grab my hand which was hanging freely by my side.
Looking down, it was a high pony-tailed little girl grinning up at me. I should have sent her back over to her mom and her little brother, but I just let her hang on for a bit. Who knows what I would have said to her mom if she had spoken up... I didn't care though. It was comforting. As the light changed to the walk signal, I told her I could cross the street on my own and she said, "okay bye".
And that was it. It was a horrible day, but she made it a just little bit better.
On a whim recently, I ended up buying the stuff needed to make soy candles. It's been six months, and I've sold 1,000 of them. They're sold in three stores already—one of them being on State Street in Madison, WI; State street is an extremely popular place for shopping and dining.
I'm hoping I can grow this into my full-time profession. I think this is the proudest I've ever been of myself.
Alright, story time. I'd just finally dumped a horrible, on-again, off-again manipulative girlfriend. I went away to this weird hippy camp thing for a week over new year’s. A few of my friends were there, and it was promising to be an excellent week of relaxation.
My second day there, I start to check out this beautiful young blonde. Total ten, absolutely gorgeous, literally made me fall out of my seat when I first saw her. Later on that day, she comes up and introduces herself. For the next week or so, I don't think we spent more than an hour apart from each other.
I'd gone from almost two years of stress, drama, self-loathing, and depression to a week with the most beautiful girl I'd ever seen. Getting her number at the end of the camp was like waking up after a storm to find the garden of Eden outside.
It really did turn my life around. Also, I had a sweet hammock set up like right outside my tent.
I'm in the service and so I drive around a boat in San Diego bay a lot. One day a retired guy came up to me while I was moored up and buying a pack of smokes at a gas station on the water, and he offered to buy them for me. He then said "You know, you look kind of hungry. Go pick out a snack". I did.
"Don't you need something sweet to go with that"? "No sir, I'm fine". But he insisted, and got me a large iced tea and thanked me for my service. It meant a lot and I won't ever forget it.
When Ireland just had the plastic bag tax I went into Dublin for Christmas shopping (brought a flimsy plastic bag that I still had lying at home). I ended up buying a bit too much stuff and while waiting for the bus the bag just ripped and left me scrambling for everything.
This middle-aged lady helped me gather my stuff, dived into her handbag, and gave me one of those sturdy reusable bags. A small gesture that made my Christmas.
We went to a fairly fancy place, and I have the palate of a five-year-old. I can typically find something anywhere but I was going through the menu and there was basically nothing I can make remotely edible for me. But they have Mac and cheese.
We're in our early thirties, and we're at a fancy place. There's no way I can order Mac and cheese and not look like a toddler. The waiter comes around, and I am basically having a panic attack in my head. I let her order first. She orders the Mac and cheese. OMG. I order the Mac and cheese too.
Afterward, we go and see a live jazz show. We're leaving and it had snowed while we were in the show. I don't remember how it came up, but I made some joke about doing donuts in the parking lot and to my extreme surprise she said something along the lines of "yeah, I've never done donuts in a parking lot".
I put the Forester through its paces. Turned traction control off and got the side widows coated in snow. She was laughing like a schoolgirl the entire time.
A rumor about a girl at my school had been going around. It had been pretty scandalous for a ninth-grader, I guess. So anyway, I was in PE class and saw her curled up on the floor (we sit on the floor waiting to do stretches), so I went over and asked her if she was okay. Obviously, she wasn't, but I talked to her let her know that I thought it was all going to be okay and stuff. Shortly after, we became boyfriend and girlfriend.
I'm in a rock and soul band, playing in the horn section, and sometimes someone will come up to the stage and, instead of air guitar, they'll enthusiastically play air trumpet. One guy (who seemed to be disabled) showed up once with an inflatable guitar in hand.
He made two hours of uninterrupted eye contact with the guitarist while going to town on his pretend axe. He was SO into it, it made us all smile, and I still can't figure out how our guitarist got through the gig without completely breaking down.
One of my credit cards was declined today at a restaurant. My server came to the table and informed me of what happened but said, "don't worry about it, my manager has taken care of it for you". Baffled, I sat for a few minutes, asked my friend if I should try to pay it anyway since I wanted to tip my server nicely.
I ended up trying to pay with another card, but the manager insisted that I not worry about it. We left a 100% tip for our server on my friend's tab. It was honestly such a pleasant and sweet gesture after a really awful week.
When the fifth Harry Potter was released, I was on a vacation to DC. Not wanting to miss the release, I went to the midnight release at a bookstore I found. It was packed, and everyone was all dressed up.
When you got in they gave you a ticket, and three people got a free copy of the book. Well guess what. #555 was the last number they called, and I got to skip a huge line and got the book for free, in a bookstore in DC I will never go to again. I was amazed.
I'm an extremely stingy person when it comes to panhandling and similar acts, so maybe once every five years or such I'll hand change to someone asking for money on the side of the road. On this particular Monday, I had received an unexpected $5 tip from a customer at work.
She handed it to me as a thank you for something or other and since she didn't toss it in the tip jar, I was allowed to keep it. At this point in my life I was living hand to mouth, and that money could buy enough bread and cheese for a week’s worth of meals. That $5 was a big deal.
I usually headed to the Food Lion right around the corner from my house, but as I wanted to get as much food at once for as little as possible, I planned to hit up Walmart a bit farther down the road.
I was sitting in the left-hand turn lane about four cars back, waiting for the light to change, when I noticed a homeless man directly next to me. I recognized him as the guy who often slept next to the vending machines outside the Food Lion.
Suddenly, I wanted to give him that $5. I didn't really need it. I hadn’t been expecting it. Someone gave it to me, I could give it away. So I handed over my fiver and the guy begins to ramble. I was expecting a "Thank you and GOD BLESS"…but it was not to be.
The man proceeded to tell me to be careful. He stated that it looked like it was going to rain and that we all knew how Florida and tourist drivers were. They never thought about how the little bit of sand often on the roads and medians would only help you to slide once the rain started and the oil slicked up.
I had better be careful. I was nodding and trying to ease away before the car behind me started honking because the light had changed to green. The car that had been in front of me was already through the light.
I thanked the man for his warning, pulled up, and turned onto the next road just as a Florida shower started. Not two blocks down the street, a person turning into the median slid into oncoming traffic and T-boned the car that had been sitting in front of me at the light.
If I had not been held back and talked to the homeless man about this exact type of situation, I would have hit both of those cars and compounded the wreck. Best $5 I ever spent.
My grandfather lost his college class ring while swimming in the ocean off of Baja Mexico. It took a long while for destiny to come knocking. Three years later, he gets a phone call from a man who had found it with a metal detector.
The man had called the Alumni Association and searched the records for people who had the initials RHP, which were engraved on the inside of the ring.
I was at an amusement park, standing in line with my friends and her grandmother waiting to get on a water ride. It was really hot that day, and we only went on water rides to make sure we stayed cool. As soon as we got in line I got a headache. Nothing unusual, I get headaches all the time. My friend's parents were a little ways away from the entrance, but not too terribly far.
We had gotten halfway through the line and my head started pounding and I felt like I was going to throw up. I told my friends I was going to go back. One asked why and I said I wasn't feeling well. I later found out she didn't hear me. That’s when it got terrifying. Walking back, I started getting black spots all in my eyes. I had to grab onto the rail to keep my balance and to lead me back to the front.
As soon as I got to the entrance I couldn't stand anymore and fell down at the front while my vision went completely black. I couldn't see anything for a few seconds. About ten people passed me before one guy finally went over to help me stand up. I don't remember standing up. I remember the man putting my arm around his neck and starting to lead me back to my family.
A bunch of thoughts went through my mind: "Can I trust this guy? Is he going to take me away somewhere? I can't defend myself, I can hardly stand up". He was actually really nice, and led me back to my friend's mom and stayed around until the doctors there got to me. I never got to thank him because I hardly had enough breath in me to answer the simple yes and no questions the doctors asked me. I was apparently really dehydrated, but it made me realize how little people stop to help people who obviously need it.
When I was about 10 years old, I used to go skiing on the weekends with Mobil ski club. It was a bunch of kids, anywhere from eight to sixteen or so, who would pile on a bus early morning on Saturdays, ski all day, and come back that night. They also held overnight trips. I recall the first, and only, of those trips I went on. I was absolutely terrified.
Everyone always seemed to know each other. On the day trips, it didn't bother me so much, but on the impending weekend trip, the consequences of loneliness seemed so magnified. I boarded the bus and sat there doing all I could to not break down crying out of fear and anxiety. An older kid, a snowboarder (still mostly skiers at that time), sat down next to me, which certainly didn't help with my unfounded feelings of inferiority.
But he looked down, obviously aware of my situation, and said simply, "You scared? Don't worry, man. It'll be alright". I cannot explain how much of a relief those words were. See, he was, in a metaphorical sense, what I was afraid of. Bigger kids. Cooler kids. Probably mean kids. Of course, I still freaked out that night and called my parents.
They planned an impromptu family ski trip, came up for the weekend, and saved me from...well, nothing really. I never got to thank the guy and I am sure he had little sense of the impact he made, but it is 23 years later and I still remember the intense feeling of gratitude from his comment. Seriously, I want to give the guy a hug today as much as I did then.
My then-boyfriend snuck me out of work and took me to the Italian place right next door which happened to be one of my favorite restaurants. He had a special surprise in store.
He had a plate of chicken carbonara ready to go on a table for me as I only had a fifteen-minute break. He then ordered me a glass and brought me my leftovers with a side of fresh, hot fries. I had to eat and then dart back to work so that's why he brought me my leftovers. And he knows I'd do anything for that restaurant's fries.
There's this restaurant in Canada called Swiss Chalet. They're known for their dine-in chicken dinners. It’s honestly pretty yummy stuff, and a lot of people I know are really big fans of their "Chalet sauce". Anyway, rewind about 20 years back: my siblings and I are all quite young, and my mother is quite poor.
She was working, going to school, and raising four kids herself. I suppose at some point in time, our family was treated to some Swiss Chalet, and my siblings and I loved it. What's a mother to do, when she can't afford to buy expensive chicken dinners for her children?
One day, she wanted to treat us all, so she headed over to a nearby Swiss Chalet, and ordered some sauce. The guy at the store was understandably confused. "Just the sauce?" She explains briefly that she's going to make us kids some food, and the sauce will help make it seem like legit Swiss Chalet food, but that she can't afford to buy a meal for each of us. The guy at the counter takes her order, and she waits for them to bring the sauce to her.
She waited a while, wondering what was taking so long for such a simple ask. She's eventually called up to the counter and given a full adult meal and 4 kids' meals, all at the cost of just the sauce. She burst into tears. My family has seen many charitable acts when I was a child, but that is certainly the most outstanding, by far.
My eight-year-old daughter had a school friend over for a playdate recently. I made dinner, we all sat down and ate together. When we were done, everyone put their dishes in the dishwasher. After we were finished with that, I sat on the couch to read while the kids headed out to the backyard to play.
When my daughter's friend walked by, I heard her say to my daughter, "You have the best mom ever!" I am not sure what I did to earn such accolades, but it felt nice nonetheless.
I live in an apartment complex, and the parking for the complex is inside the square of apartments around it. Depending on your apartment number, you're assigned a parking spot, me living on the last floor of the complex, I was assigned to the top level of the parking lot.
So, one day I’m coming home from being out with a couple friends, and when I lock my car, it makes a beep noise. So, I locked my car, and then someone else locked theirs, producing the beeping noise, and I locked mine again for no reason, and the other car was locked again, too.
I thought this was a game now, so I was locking three times in a row, and then the other person would follow suit, each of us alternating timing and patterns of locking.
We did this for about three minutes before I had to go inside, we didn't see each other or know one another, but after we stopped, I heard a man let out a warm hearty chuckle, and I did the same.
I've always been dreadful at math. I failed high school algebra, and I dropped algebra twice in college because I fell too far behind. After coming back to school after a two-year absence, I finally passed algebra. Not only did I pass, but I got 100% on my final exam.
Now I can actually say that I enjoy math.
I finally got the guts to break up with my boyfriend of almost three years. I’ve been dating him since the end of my freshman year. I feel awful because he loves me and wants the best…I just don't love him anymore.
Now the toughest part is not giving in to the occasional loneliness that sets in.
I had Bell's Palsy about three and a half years ago on the left side of my face. I couldn't close my left eye or open my mouth fully for five months (yes, you can sneeze with an eye open). Until it finally happened. I was working out at my university's gym late at night one day, and I remember out of the blue my left eye shut.
I then remember looking at a reflection of myself in a mirror just closing and opening my eye for 10 minutes to make sure it wasn't some kind of fluke. It was pretty much the best feeling in the world.
Back in seventh grade, I was kind of a loser. Like, big time. Always eating lunch alone, never having a class partner, etc. That summer, I went to this camp/program. It was only 3 weeks long, but during that time span, I became very good friends with my dorm mates.
They influenced my sense of humor, social skills, my outlook on life, and gave me a massive confidence boost. Fast forward to the start of school, I shed my wings and started anew. I was outgoing, I made people laugh, and made a lot of friends (female ones, too!)
That year, I stood a little taller, I spoke a little louder, and by golly, I was just a better overall human being.
I was visiting my sister in Japan. One day while she was away at work I decided to take her bike and explore the small city she lived in. I was riding along when all of a sudden my back tire blew out. At this point, I was pretty far from her house and I didn't know how to get back home. I started walking with the bike when out of nowhere a Japanese guy pulled up in his pickup.
He got out of the truck, put the bike in the back of the truck, and told me to get in the passenger's seat. In broken English, he said he was going to help me. Well, he drove me to a bike shop and took the bike out of the back of the pick, and brought it inside the shop. He then proceeded to fix the tire. He apparently was the owner of this bike shop. I paid for the repair and looked around the shop and realized his shop was a block away from my sister's apartment.
Six years ago I joined a music appreciation group (just a bunch of amateurs playing piano for each other). At some point, they hosted an event to which they invited a really good professional musician to come and perform. At some point, this musician heard me play. After I finished my piece, he came up to me and invited me to come to a festival at which he was going to perform the following month, and to share a set with him. It was so nice—but I had no idea about what kind of impact it would have.
At the festival, he gave me a grand introduction, played a duet with me, and let me play a couple of tunes during one of his sets. That is how my performing career started. After that festival, I started getting invitations to come to play at other festivals. Eventually, I started getting solo concerts. I now have a fairly busy performance schedule. All because of one act of kindness.
I try to "pay it forward" by being nice to the other musicians on that scene, and by being encouraging to beginners. Also, since I'm also an attorney, I've occasionally helped out some of the musicians on a pro bono basis.
My now-husband and I went for a walk for our second date. As we went along, we were approached by one of those 'let me tell you about this important cause' people and he told them we were late and didn't want to hear their spiel. He took two more steps and then he stopped.
He turned to me and said, “Sorry, I completely just spoke for you, did you want to hear what he had to say?” I melted right there and never looked back. We’ve been together eight years!
I was 17 years old and all alone in the downtown area of Atlanta at night when I ran out of gas. My fuel pump sensor was broken so I didn't get the little low fuel light on my dash. I pulled right over into a sketchy-looking gas station, the type where the attendant is behind a thick shield of plexiglass and there are cameras everywhere, and attempted to open the door to my gas tank using a lever on the floor of my car.
Turns out the cable connecting the lever to the door was disconnected so I couldn't get it open. And my cellphone was dead. It was clearly not my day—and it was about to get worse. I went into the gas station and asked the attendant if I could borrow a phone. He told me no, for safety reasons, I couldn't come behind the counter which I understood because this was a bad side of town.
I had been begging him to let me borrow a phone when a group of scary-looking dudes walked in and he turned his attention from me to them. I quickly walked outside. Luckily, I keep a small roadside kit and tool set in my car for emergencies (thanks dad), so I pulled out a flathead screwdriver to try to pry the door open. At this point, I am visibly shaken up.
Then I hear the door of the gas station and turn to see one of the big scary guys walking over to me. I froze on the spot. He took off his hat and said, "Ma'am are you having car trouble? Do you need to call someone"? And from his pocket, he pulls out a phone and hands it to me. He carefully took the tool from my hand and asked if I wanted him to give it a shot.
I was speechless so I just nodded. While I am dialing he asks, "What's a girl like you doing out here on her own? This is a bad area, you need to be more careful". I explained that I had been at work and was driving this way to get on the interstate. My dad picks up and I tell him what happened, he starts asking where I am and I really wasn't sure.
The guy asks to speak to my dad so I hand him the phone and he says, "Sir, I got your daughter here at (gas station name) on (name of road) off exit ___. She's just fine but I wanted to ask if you'll be alright with me removing the door over her gas tank so she can fill it up. Alright then, I'll stay here with her til you get here". Home was about 45 minutes away but he stayed with me the whole time. When my dad got there and thanked the man, he just held up his hands and said, "It wasn't any trouble. I would just hope that if my daughter was ever in a similar situation that someone would be so kind as to look out for her". And he left.
Not me, but my baseball coach used to be a pitcher in the big leagues, but he got in a car accident and broke his neck. They said he would never walk again, but here he is today, COMPLETELY recovered, but no major league teams trust him to be as good as he was.
So now he just coaches his son's little league team. But he is still just as good as he was in the MLB.
I work for a small airline, and I had two passengers (elderly mother with late 40s daughter) check in for a flight last week. I noticed the daughter's name was nearly identical to my grandma's and mentioned it to her. While we were chatting, I found out her mother had never flown on a small plane before (none of our planes have more than 10 seats).
I told her to sit up front with the pilot for the best view and depending on the time, he may be able to fly a bit more scenic route. When the daughter returned from their trip (her mother had stayed back), she brought me a tin of homemade chocolate truffles and a card thanking us for making it such a nice trip. Just getting the thank-you afterward was nice, but I've never had a customer bring me a homemade treat before, let alone something so delicious!
Not today, but many years ago, a friend and I were driving to his house through a nearby neighborhood. Rounding a corner, we came upon three kids playing basketball with a basket mounted by the street. When they saw us coming, one kid yelled out the obligatory "CAR!" and they all stepped aside.
My friend stopped his car and waved to the kid with the ball to take his shot. The kid then hugged the ball tight and kept waving for us to pass through. My friend put his car in park, shut the engine, and crossed his arms miming that he wanted the kid to go first. The other two kids then start yelling to their friend to play. We then noticed his family on a nearby porch now all smiling and chanting—just totally egging him on! The kid now, under all sorts of pressure, steps out into the street, and takes the most incredible free throw shot of his young life.
I was going to see Avengers with some of my buddies, but I couldn't get there early enough to buy a ticket. Turns out my friends didn’t buy me a ticket and didn't even save me a seat. Anyways, I'm on the phone with them freaking out because I just drove 30 minutes to get to the theater and might have to watch the movie by myself later.
As I'm talking on the phone, this man I've never met before approaches me and offers me a spare ticket. I continued to offer him money but he rejected it. This completely changed my night and it was awesome of him to do that.
On my second combat tour, I actually got a mid-tour leave. We landed at the Dallas airport, and after the customs nonsense, we walked out to a huge crowd of people clapping and cheering for us. One little girl (about seven or eight years old) handed me a box of Girl Scout cookies, so I said, “Sure, how much”? She said, “Nothing sir, thank you for your service”. Even now as I type this I am tearing up. This little girl I will never forget.
I was coming back from a year of volunteering in India and had a long layover in Zurich. I wanted to see a bit of the city, but I had very little cash and my account was close to drained. On the flight, I get to talking with two young women from the area (no, this is not going where you think it's going).
They were both getting a ride into town with one of their dads, who insisted on buying me breakfast, showing me where a free bike rental place is, and forcing me to take 20 Swiss Francs (over $20) for the deposit/lunch. He tells me that he was in a very similar situation in his early 20s, and the same thing happened to him. Since then I've been on the lookout for broke travelers.
I was pregnant at 17, delivered at 18, and my parents kicked me out for a bit then took me back in. The baby's father was never around. I was on welfare for two years while going to Medical Assisting school.
I then graduated, started working in the medical field, worked my way up to medical billing, and then left it all after six years to open my own medical billing service. I went from welfare to successful businesswoman with a daughter who's now in college on my dime, because I have dimes to give her now. I beat the statistics.
I used to be a piece of garbage, scum of the earth loser. I was a huge jerk. I disrespected everyone. Even my own parents. Why they didn't kick me out I don't know, but now I am sure glad they didn't.
I am 100% sure I would have ended up behind bars. Anyway, I found a small college and applied. I got into a Computer Networking program and studied my butt off. I stopped hanging out with my old friends and started sitting in front of my computer, listening to soft music and learning about everything.
Fast forward to today. I am now a level-1 tech at a small business making a decent salary for someone my age (21). I am very intelligent, and I stopped being a jerk to everyone, and whenever I show up to a party everyone loves me for how nice I am.
I did a complete turnaround with my life. Cheers to everyone who changed their life for the better. It's not about how hard you fall, it’s about how high you bounce back up.
Last year I went through a really hard time at university, basically struggled with the work, let it get on top of me and it was stressing me out trying to get it done in time. When the assignments hit I didn't get a lot of sleep for most of the term, but I’ll never forget the feeling when I handed in the last essay after an all-nighter, and the following week when I walked out of the last exam.
Bearing in mind that I genuinely thought at one point I was going to fail, to be able to get all the work done and get some fairly decent results at the end of it was such an awesome feeling!
I broke my back this summer and was left paralyzed from the hips down. I was in the hospital for 12 days, and then they moved me to a rehab facility in my hometown. When I got to the rehab, I was barely able to slide down a sliding board into my chair.
I was still in so much pain that I could only be in the chair for a couple hours at a time. I feel like they moved me out of the hospital too quickly. I had a 6-hour back surgery for God’s sake. I couldn't even sit up properly on my own. But somehow, it got more terrible. The nurses at the rehab made me want to roll my chair into oncoming traffic. They were rough, rude, and rushed.
Ughh...I had it out with more than one of them because I was tired of being treated like an inmate instead of a patient. It wasn't long before I started doing everything on my own. I was in so much pain, but if I didn't do it myself, it wouldn't have gotten done.
Once the swelling in my back went down and I was able to stay in my chair for most of the day, I spent as little time in the rehab as possible. There was a park across the street I would go to park my wheelchair in, just to escape.
When it was time for physio, I showed a lot of improvements. I was always pushing myself to the limit on the mat. Trying to balance on my hands and knees, different stretching positions, rolling from my back to my stomach, along with all the exercises they were getting me to do.
My physios were pretty impressed with how hard I was trying to succeed. About a month in, I was in the shower and leaned forward to grab something. I couldn’t believe what I saw. I saw a flicker in my left upper/inner thigh, and tried again to move it. I imagined pulling my knees to my chest.
The muscle was very weak, but it was moving on command! I was pretty proud of this and shed a few tears. It's amazing how such small things mean so much. The remainder of my time at the rehab was spent focusing on upper body strength, safe transfers to and from cars, uneven transfers, all that jazz.
My leg just continued to get stronger and stronger. I can now tighten my left thigh abductor and hold it. Even after showing my physios the improvements, they didn't give me much hope. I have partially gained back my bowels and bladder.
I know when I have to go to the bathroom, but once I feel like I have to go I have a very small time frame before I can't hold it in. I have been just timing when I went last to help prevent this from happening. Once I'm on the toilet I can push out most of the urine, but I have been doing an ICP to see how much is left after voiding.
So hopefully I will get all that back soon! I left the rehab center last week, so now I am without any physio. For some reason, my therapist wouldn't even recommend me for outpatient physio.
Maybe I should give you some idea of how my legs are feeling. In the beginning, it felt like there was an electric current going through them all the time. I couldn't feel anything though. Over time, my level of sensation increased drastically.
I now have about 75% feeling in my legs now. I can feel massage, pressure, and most light touches. Some areas are much more sensitive than others, but it's pretty random on both legs. When I visualize moving a muscle, I can feel small waves of pressure and pulses going through my legs.
It's hard to explain, but I'm trying. And the spasm, don’t even get me started. When I have a spasm, I can feel that individual muscle tightening, and I can feel the pressure released right before the spasm stops. Since I have my hip flexors, I can control my spasms as well.
I'm sure there is more, but I've already written way more than I planned on. My legs are waking up! I can feel it! I can feel improvements every day.
I work with oncology patients who often are just trying to make it through another day and don't have the energy to do much else. A patient came to my desk today and said, "every time I stand here, you're a breath of fresh air for me". In truth, I don’t know what else I really do to help this particular person, aside from truly just being nice. But in any event, that totally made my day.
I was drawing pictures on my friends' hands in sharpie at a small concert and a little girl came up to me and asked if she could have her hand drawn on too. She wanted a rainbow, a heart, and a butterfly. I drew it all for her, and her face lit up when I was done, and she went, "ooooh! It's so pretty!" That really made me so happy.
I ride a klr650 motorcycle. It's a really big dirt bike and little kids love it. Most of the time, they just kind of look but once in a while, I get a kid that goes totally insane over it. I was in Tucson, Arizona about a week ago cruising back home and there was a little boy in the car next to me. I glanced over and saw him throwing his arms around screaming.
He started waving like crazy to me, so I slowed down to be even with him and waved back. He kept waving, so I gave him a thumbs up and he did the same. Eventually, I ended up at a light next to him about 5 minutes later and his dad rolled down their windows and I revved my engine a few times for them. The dad was all smiles and gave me a thumbs up. It was awesome.
We both wanted to see Batman in 1989, but didn't really have anyone to go see it with. So we decided, "not a date," just going to see the film and getting a burger afterward. Only we ended up chatting until fairly late and agreed that we'd go hang out at the mall or stroll through a local park the next weekend. And, we did. But that wasn't the end.
It kept up like that for months. By that time, we were joking about "if we get married" and somehow one night one of us slipped and said, "When are we getting married". The other asked "When?", and was answered firmly "When". Both of us remember the night, but think it was the other who slipped.
We agreed to meet for coffee first. She walked in, and my first thought was that there was no way it was her, because she was just so beautiful. Then she gave this shy little smile and wave, and I realized that it was her.
We talked and laughed and drank coffee for what felt like about 20 minutes. The next thing I knew, the place was empty and closing. I walked her to her car, and she grabbed me and gave me this huge hug, completely unprompted. It was really sweet.
I took her out on a real date the following week, and it was just magical. I waited a few days, so I didn't seem too forward and called her up. I was really nervous. After we talked for a while, I awkwardly asked her if it'd be okay if I took her out again sometime.
She said, "What? Of course you can! I'd LOVE to go out with you again!" And that's how I met the love of my life.
I was in Disney World on the boardwalk with my parents and decided to wander away to see some street performer’s show. It went wrong as soon as a little girl was chosen to throw a bowling pin. Her aim was way off, it was hurtling toward my 13-year-old face, and in response, I turned my face away and braced for impact. Only, it never happened.
I heard the audience gasp and applaud, and it turned out that the kid texting next to me, who previously seemed to be a total honey badger, managed to catch the pin inches away from my face. I was too shocked to say thanks, my parents pulled me away, and I couldn't find him for the rest of the night. I wish I knew who he was, I would love to thank him!
A German girl once gave me $50 when my bag got stolen in Athens, Greece and I was too broke to even make it to my embassy for replacement papers or cash advances. She had just returned from Nepal where someone had saved her with some cash.
Without cards or passport, I had no chance to even get money from my own bank account, so this helped me out a lot to get my stuff sorted out. I am forever grateful, dear traveler, and always ready to pass on your cash when meeting the next traveler in need.
When I was 22 I had a substance misuse problem. My neighbor was an old Polish lady who would bang on the wall when I played music too loud. When things got really bad for me, she must have known I was hurting and not eating because she started ringing my bell and giving me sandwiches she'd made, or bags of bagels and containers of soup and stuff.
She would sit with me and we would eat together. I never understood a word she said because she spoke really bad English. She really gave me hope in humanity which is something I desperately needed at the moment. I always remember her. Also, I just celebrated seven years clean and sober. I still think about that woman a lot.
On September 14th, 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, 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.
I was in a very bad relationship at 19 but wasn’t fully aware of it at the time and living with the guy. I was at work and realized I didn't have any money for food, and management had just asked me to stay late, so I called my boyfriend and told him I had an unopened check at home and asked if he would bring it to me.
He was unemployed, and it didn't seem like a big deal, but he said he was out with friends and wouldn't leave, so I’d have to figure it out. I was so frustrated and complaining to co-worker about what a jerk he was, and a woman overheard my story and offered to buy my lunch. I pleaded with her not to give me any money. I was afraid that she'd think I was scamming her. But she just had a good heart and she insisted on helping me out.
I was already emotional, but that wasn't even the most heartbreaking part. You see, this all happened on Mother’s Day, and she insisted that as a mother she wouldn't want her kids to go hungry so she couldn't bear to see another kid in that position with no one to help. It was only $10, but I hid in the bathroom and cried. I don't have a mom, so it was pretty overwhelming.
On a Monday afternoon, I came home from work to find a letter in the mail. It was addressed by hand and the return address wasn't familiar. I thought to myself "this can't be good!" I opened the envelope to find my driver’s license and a note. I was unaware that I had even been missing my driver’s license. Apparently, on the prior Saturday, I had managed to drop it from my wallet somehow.
This nice person found it on the sidewalk, went home, wrote her note, addressed an envelope to me, and put a stamp on it, then deposited it into a mailbox in time for the Saturday pickup. By Monday, it was already back safely in my hands before I had even realized that it was missing.
I'd been drinking one night and peed the bed...her bed. With her in it. I spent an hour wide awake and mortified, as we hadn't been living together for very long at that point and I had no idea how to handle it. I eventually woke her up and shamefully told her what happened. Without ridicule or anger, she got up, helped me get the sheets in the wash, and took a shower with me.
It's been three years since that day, and she hasn't once used that event as harmful ammunition in an argument, or even mentioned it at all except as private playful banter once or twice. I understood then that she respected that embarrassing things happen to everyone and that I could always count on her to have my back, and to always keep our secrets.
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