"My little sister was extremely sick with pneumonia in the ICU one Christmas when she was 6. This happened often around this time of year for her because of her asthma, but this time it was worse. She was so sick and tired, she lost track of the days in the hospital even though Christmas was approaching fast. People dressed as elves would come in and bring gifts and my sister would say, 'Am I going to make it back in time for Christmas?' She was so worried and already so upset after being poked and prodded by doctors, draining fluid from her lungs and trying to get her better. Christmas came and we decided not to tell her she missed it. We promised her. We weren't going to ruin her Christmas!
On the 27th, while my dad worked and mom was at the hospital, I got a list from my mom and went to the store to get her gifts. I spent all night wrapping them. The next day, they released my sister from the hospital and we told her it was Christmas Eve! I even promised her she could sleep in my bed that night, under all the Christmas lights I hung up, so she could wake me up as soon as it was Christmas morning.
I can't even tell you how happy she was to wake up the next day and she couldn't stop saying how much of a Christmas miracle it was! She's 13 and still remarks how amazing it was she made it back before Christmas, after being so horribly sick and stuck in ICU. Maybe someday we'll tell her."
"When I was a kid, I used to always twist the quarter machines on the way into stores just in case. Got lucky a couple of times and got a few free toys. Now that I'm grown, if I'm leaving a store with them, I like to drop change into them if I have it and leave them half twisted."
"My Aunt was gonna be short for her rent. I paid the landlord and told him to say that she paid it earlier in the month. She was so happy about it. I made steaks for supper and paid extra on other bills so she'd be ahead of them."
"Back when Madden '95 for the Sega Genesis came out, I was a beast. I was more untouchable than the '85 Bears were.
We would gather up in my dorm room, me and five friends, and we would take turns playing. Side note: I miss the era of getting into the same room and watching other people play each other on video games. It was super fun.
We got pretty into the whole Madden '95 tournament concept. We ended up keeping stats on Wins-Losses and Points Per Game and Points Allowed Per Game. Five minute quarters. We set up a mini schedule of everyone playing each other twice (that was our season).
At the end of the season, I was undefeated, my Points For Average was over 80 and I don't remember what my Points Against Average was, but I do remember that I'd given up 13 points in the season. Everyone else was pretty good. Our one buddy RS was probably the second best at the game, then the other guys were good and evenly matched.
We go through the playoffs, I crush everyone. Our buddy LJ comes in and he's not really all that great at video games, but he lucked out because one of his playoff games was against RS and he won by forfeit because RS had a test coming up and didn't have time to play his game, and one of the games he played our other buddy CK, who was the unluckiest jerk in the world. LJ beat CK on a last minute Hail Mary to get the right to play me.
So here we are. The title game. LJ is the '66 Chiefs. I'm the '85 Bears. I started out showboating. I got up 35-0 on him in the first quarter. I lined up to onside kick and told him I would let him run back 7 in a row and tie it up, then give him a go ahead for good measure.
All of this was part of my master plan to put LJ over. The final score was 69-66, LJ winning it on a last-second field goal kick.
I was so good at the game (and at acting) that I made it look like I legitimately lost.
I know it sounds kind of stupid to mention this as a big secret. It was just a video game, after all. But to us, at that moment in time, it was a big deal. My roommates lost their freaking minds and almost carried LJ out of the room on their shoulders. I think they ended up buying him pizza and drinks that night to celebrate.
To this day, no one knows I threw the game."
"I used to have to regularly travel abroad for work to this one specific town. I would stay near the main square so it got to be I would recognize the homeless people around my area.
It was a difficult time in my life, so I was drinking a little more than was healthy (nothing during the daytime or that would interfere with work, just at night to go to bed), so most nights I would go out to pick something up.
Some homeless people asked for money, some were straight up and asked for a can or two. I always felt bad doing the whole 'pat my pockets and shrug' routine to them as I exited the shop, knowing I was just blowing my money away on drinks for myself. In that moment, was I so different than these guys?
I finally got up the courage to acknowledge/talk to one of them, he asked for a can or two of drinks, and I asked what kind he wanted (high percentage, of course). In the store, I bought stuff for me, and I also bought this guy two cans, but there was a catch. In the bag were a few other things I bought him, a few sandwiches, some milk, and some sports drink.
So that was my routine. For over a year, I would be in this town once a month or so, and I would go around and get this man a few cans and also made sure he had something to eat. I learned that he had a shelter he could sleep in at night, I learned his name, I would shake his hand every time I saw him, chat for a bit, and wish him well. A few times, he had some sores on his foot so I bought bandages, antiseptic cream, stuff like that.
It's not a big deal, but I always kept it a secret. Even when my girlfriend came with me on one of my trips, I just told her I was going to go for a walk at night to clear my head, and I went and visited this man and bought him a few drinks and some food, never told her about it. I've never told anyone - I think that would ruin it for me - it's not about me or getting a slap on the back, it was just about treating this guy like a fellow man, even for a few minutes.
Maybe I was doing something wrong, maybe that's not the right way to help someone, I don't know. All I figured was this guy had more reason to drink than I did, his life looked rough. If he wanted to get messed up, he was going to find a way to get messed up anyway, and this way I figured at least he'd get some nutrition, and someone who would shake his hand, call him by name and chat and look him in the eye.
I haven't been back to that town for years. I don't know if he remembers me. I think of him often. I hope he's doing ok."
"Back in college, I liked to do special things for my friends in my dorm for Valentine's Day. One year, I taped chocolate boxes to their doors, and the next year I taped bags of heart-shaped cookies. My friends would find out that it was me one way or another, but it was still nice to do something nice for the people I care about.
The next year, after the majority of my dorm friends, had graduated, I still wanted to do something nice for the people in my dorm. I created about 150 little paper envelopes, to cover everyone that would be getting a special surprise. At around 2 a.m. I set out to taping these envelopes to all the doors on my floor (2 people per room) as well as all the RA's on all the other floors. I then filled every tiny envelope with a few heart-shaped Reese's and Snickers candies. It probably took about 2 hours to completely finish. I know a few chocolates really aren't that big of a gift, but I wanted everybody to feel some love on Valentine's Day.
The next day, some of the RA's posted about it on Facebook. They were saying that we had the best residents. It made me feel really warm and fuzzy inside, but I never let any of them know that I was the one that did it."
"Without revealing too much information, my previous job had a major perk: a lottery system in which the winners got to accompany a group to various locations in the world for a hybrid vacation/work trip.
I won the lottery one year and was selected to go to Istanbul.
I heard a coworker talking to her spouse on the phone about how bummed she was she did not get it (she was selected as my backup, but did not know who she was backing up). She had hoped to visit a long-lost family member. She is a quiet, sweet, helpful person. She's very behind the scenes and rather underappreciated.
I gave up my spot due to a 'prior commitment.' She got to go instead. I had a great time looking at her pictures."
"When I was 17 years old, my BFF and I decided to take the snowmobiles out for a ride in the blizzard. We thought it would be amazing to hit some fresh forming powder and drifts. The visibility was low so we stuck to the main roads.
We ended up on a desolate road with two homes and acres and acres of farmland. As we got close to the homes we noticed some lights and went over to see what was going on. It turned out that the old couple living there had ventured out to the store to get food in case they got snowed in. They made the long drive and everything went fine (they had to have hit several drifts that were 1-4 feet tall). Things only went wrong when they slowed down to turn into the drive. They didn't dare leave their car out because they feared a snow plow would hit it. My friend and I in full snow gear, helmets and face masks dug the car out and shoveled the driveway and made sure they got the car in the garage.
I thought that was the end of the story. I didn't even mention anything to my parents. Lo and behold, the next day at church this couple was there. Our church gives time for the congregation to get up and talk about their beliefs/faith-building stories. Sure enough, the old man gets up and starts telling about their trip to the store last night. He talked about getting stuck and worrying he would never get his car unstuck and that it would be destroyed by a snow plow. He then said two angels appeared, barely spoke, unstuck his car and disappeared as quickly as they arrived. He said that he had been pleading with the Lord for some help but figured it would never arrive because no one ever travels the road. My mom looked at me and knew it was me. She didn't say anything, I didn't say anything."
"Last Christmas, my cousin really wanted Pokemon Sun and a 3DS. My Aunt and Uncle said she had too many games but I proposed I get it for her, and they agreed. Come Christmas Eve, and I got the exclusive 1/2000 limited edition Sun/Moon boxes for her, but not the 3DS yet. Well...Turns out they were sold out everywhere. She's my favorite cousin, and I promised her, so I had to do something. I already had a 3DS with Pokemon Sun, so I factory reset my 3DS and wrapped it and gave it to her. No one knows how I got the 3DS but were surprised I got one on Christmas Eve for her.
Another secret that I kept is that my friend, who's still working through flight mechanic school, is madly in love with his girlfriend. Well, he wanted to propose to her for Christmas as a gift. He didn't have much money for a ring and wanted to get a $50 ring off Etsy. I didn't like that idea, so I brought him to the mall and gave him a budget of $1k to get a ring for his girlfriend. He got a $700 ring and he said he'd work day and night to pay me back, and I told him no need. I still have the voicemail he and his fiancée left on my phone when they got engaged. He and I are the only two people who know the truth behind that Christmas miracle. He's also the same friend I've let squat at my house for almost a year for no charge while he gets his degree. Nobody but him and I know he lives with me while he gets on his feet.
(Yes both of these incidents took place around the same Christmas, this past one happened 2016)
I've done more in the similar vein to this, such as purchasing and providing a few truckloads of food to the local Korean church so the homeless of the city could eat that Thanksgiving. I've done the same for Christmas times, whether it was food or presents for the homeless who can't afford them. I always keep my name anonymous because I feel like it defeats the purpose of doing something out of good will as someone will always think you're putting your name out there to brag. I just like the feeling of knowing someone out there had a much better day because someone was generous enough."
"I took my science geek housemate to Switzerland to go to CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) for the weekend.
I tricked him into taking Friday and Monday off work, stole his passport, and have been slowly stealing his clothes from him when he hung them up to dry.
I'm an expert packer, so I fit all we need for the weekend in one backpack so it won't look unusual when we leave for our 'day out at the beach' on Friday.
I was ill for a while and he was practically my nurse, so I owe him. I LOVE surprises.
The plan worked!
My housemate had no suspicions at all. I was crazily worked up this morning because I was scared about missing the train, then missing the flight. He was annoyingly casual about timings this morning seeing as he thought it was a normal day out. Luckily, he knows I'm a general stresshead anyway so found nothing unusual about me rushing him out the door.
We got off the train at the airport, earlier than he was expecting, obviously. I told him to trust me so he followed. I think he thought we were swapping trains or something. Then I handed him a card that said thank you for all the things he did for me when I was sick. Literally a long list of individual things like 'for moving my glass of water so I could reach it from my bed, buying me emergency sandwiches when the hospital food was crap, sitting in the uncomfortable chair while my parents visited so they could have the sofa,' etc. At the end of the card, it said, 'Do you want the good news or bad news first?' He asked for the bad news and I told him, unfortunately, we weren't going to make it to the beach today. The good news was that we were going on an adventure instead.
I led him away from the station and into the airport building. He was looking really confused like he didn't know whether to be worried or excited. It was quite crowded so we couldn't really talk properly. I think he knew we were going somewhere but didn't want to believe it because he didn't have any stuff with him. When we got to a quieter spot, just before security I said, 'Do you want to go somewhere cool?' He didn't really know what to say so I handed over his passport and the toiletries that needed to be transferred from my bag over into his and I think that's when he finally believed we were actually doing something.
Because I was high on the buzz of surprising him, I wanted to drag it out a bit more. I could see he was still confused but getting excited so I didn't worry about him getting too stressed out. So I asked him not to look at his boarding pass when he scanned it to get through the electronic gates through to security.
We got through with plenty of time because I'm one of those panickers who actually arrive hours before the flight even though we only had hand luggage. I sat my housemate down to an airport breakfast and that's when I spelled it out. I broke it to him that his brother and dad lied to him about the family event on Monday and that they knew about my plan to take him away somewhere. I told him not to expect to be coming home until Monday evening and not to worry because I'd sorted travel money, someone is moving into our house this evening to look after the cat, and that I had been gradually stealing his clothes for weeks so had all he needed. ('That's where my socks have been going!')
After I'd finished explaining my trickery, I got him to finally look at his boarding pass. He got excited about going to Geneva but he didn't realize why we were going there. So I said, 'You know how I was asking you what CERN was the other day? Well, I actually already knew all about it. Do you want to go there? Good, because I've booked us a tour.' That was when he really lit up.
My only failure was I stole some shorts from him because the weather forecast is looking really good for the weekend. Turns out they're his 'around the house' shorts and not suitable for the public. He bought a new pair at the airport."
"My daughter isn't biologically mine. My ex became pregnant via an affair. One of many, I came to find. After the paternity test confirmed it, I almost left, but I had a thought.
This baby girl did not ask for this situation. She is innocent in all this and down a father since the dude split and disappeared. I knew her mother was not able to cope with motherhood, as she was only barely coping with childless adulthood some of the time.
I stepped in. I've always wanted to be a father and I'm all about helping children at a disadvantage because of my own crappy childhood. If I can spare any child from that, I would, so I did.
She carries my name. Looks like me oddly enough (her bio dad looks like a younger me), and is now 3 with a 1st-grade education. She speaks very well. She has a very good imagination. She is as happy as a clam and unabused. I teach her mother how to actually be a mother, and I take my daughter for extra time, all the time.
It's the best, most fulfilling decision I have ever made. I may not be her father, but I'm darn sure her daddy."
Donna Ellen Coleman/Shutterstock
"My best friend in high school was homely. In our senior year, she kept saying how she didn't give a crap about prom... Even though all of our friends were going and I happen to know she loves dancing. She's super cool and down to earth, so it was honestly unbelievable that she didn't care about prom, but I had a hunch it was because she didn't think anyone would ask her.
There was a boy in our grade who I had a few classes with and saw at the occasional party --- one of those people that ran in the same circles and you talk to now and then. He was a very laid back, nice guy. I asked him if he had a date for the prom or anyone in mind. He said no, so I suggested he ask my friend. He was totally game! I asked him to please keep it between us that I brought it up, because, 'It's way more fun to remember being asked to prom as a complete surprise.' I also nudged him in the direction of asking her in a cute way, and he devised a plan on his own.
She came to school a few days later beaming, saying she would be going to the prom, because she 'couldn't let the guy down.' It was wonderful. We all had a great time. We've been friends for 24 years, and she still has no idea I had anything to do with it. She never will."
"I've had my cat for 18 years. I've had my husband for three years. He always wanted a cat and never had one.
Their love is strong and true, but obviously, the cat is slightly more attached to/familiar with me.
My husband loves that cat so much and gets a little bit of a thrill out of the idea that the cat loves us equally even though I had a 15-year head start.
What my husband doesn't know is that I sometimes intentionally annoy the cat so that he will go snuggle with my husband instead, because it is so dang cute how giddy my husband gets about it."
"I work at a grocery store and a woman and her little girl went through with a cart full of groceries. It was the first week of the month and she was using her EBT card. For some reason, it was declined and she started crying. She thanked us for trying it a few times and she didn't understand why it wasn't working. It was payday and I didn't make a whole lot as I was only a part-time worker. However, I went over to the bank in the store and cashed my check. I went to our customer service desk where she was on the phone with the bank and gave it over quietly. My coworker paid for the rest and we didn't make it a big deal. She wasn't paying attention and was just handed the receipt and told the lady to go home and enjoy the day, we took care of it. She cried harder and thanked everyone and asked for a manager and was telling her little girl that this was a miracle. We had to tell her to not get a manager because where I work giving money during your shift is grounds for suspension. I will always remember her gratitude."
"I secretly drop pennies. For many years, my Uncle used to bend down and pick up every penny he came across, which was maddening to my Aunt who was worried the neighbors would see him and assume they were poor, needing every penny the could find. They used to tease each other about it.
My Uncle got cancer and passed away after a very long struggle. After the funeral, we were walking to the car and my Aunt saw a penny, and said, 'Oh John is thinking of me. He left this penny for me today.' So whenever I am around my Aunt, I purposely drop pennies on the ground for her to find. I haven't been caught yet, and I hope I never do."
"My best friend's mom passed away from cancer four years ago on Easter Sunday. She was like a second mom to me. She was very religious and always dreamed of going to Jerusalem.
When she passed away, my best friend became reckless and would try to drown his feelings and cover up the darkness inside him with the bright lights of clubs and women. This went on for a couple years.
Eventually, my best friend hit beyond rock bottom to where he was living in his car with only a backpack of clothes and his mom's ashes. I let him stay with me and he turned his life around. He stopped going to bars. He started caring again. He started saving money. He decided he would spread his mom's ashes in Jerusalem.
Well, he got into a car accident last month and totaled his car. Not his fault. Someone plowed through a red light. Medical bills and attorneys fees drained his savings. But it's okay. He told me how there was a bank error and someone deposited $3,000 into his bank account. He's all set to be in Jerusalem around Easter and my Hawaii trip was postponed."