People on Reddit were asked: “What’s the nicest thing a stranger (who you never met again) has done for you?” These are some of the best answers.
1. A guy named Jason sat with me after I got hit by a car. He waited when no one else did, made sure I didn’t die by the side of the road, and got help. I owe that guy my life.
2. I boarded a last minute flight to my hometown not knowing if my brother was going to be alive when the flight landed. I was sitting in shock thinking about how this was going to be one of the longest hour and twenty minutes of my life and it must have been written all over my face.
This particular aircraft had two emergency seats then a space before the door (no window seat) giving the person who sat in the window seat behind a huge space for leg room. A guy sat down and commented how he loved to get that seat, extra leg room etc. Then he leaned forward and said, “I saw your face when I was walking up the aisle and can tell you can really do with talking to someone to take your mind off something, so I’m just going to talk, at any point you want to talk about it you can, otherwise I’m just gonna chat to you.”
I don’t know if that guy will ever have even the tiniest bit of understanding of how deeply he touched me with his actions or his parting words. Six years later I still think about what a touching thing he did by just chatting to a stranger who looked like she was going through hell. My brother is alive and well but for the duration of that flight I had no idea if that would be the case.
3. One of my best friends killed himself at the beginning of this year. For the first few weeks after it happened I was in that state of mind where you can just about manage to block it out enough to get yourself through the day, only to have it suddenly overwhelm you out of nowhere.
10 days after he died, I was on a packed commuter train out of London, squashed into a corner seat. Some little thing had set me off and before I could compose myself I started unravelling before the carefully averted eyes of my fellow commuters. I rang my Dad to try and talk it through, but couldn’t calm down. Trying desperately not to sob audibly, pressing myself into the window and willing myself to stop shaking; just thinking about my friend stepping off the ledge over and over…
Then the lady sat beside me – a well dressed, middle aged lady who turned out to be Canadian-but her arm on my shoulder and said “I couldn’t help but overhear; I just want you to know that whatever you’re going through now, I promise you it’ll be ok.” We ended up talking about my friend the whole journey, and she chose to share with me that she lost her first husband to suicide. She talked to me about bereavement and loss, and then she made me laugh. She gave me a hug when we got to her stop, and I never saw her again. I’ll remember her for the rest of my life.
4. I had a leg cast and was trying to get to school on crutches (my usual ride was unavailable). When I was halfway there, a policeman saw me and offered me a ride to school.
The kicker? I am a minority and lived in a mostly white city.
5. When I was 12, I was on my way back home from school. I was riding my bicycle, and at this crossing, a car in a traffic jam made space to let me through. While crossing the road, I got hit by this driver, trying to overtake the whole lane, so he wouldn’t have to wait out the traffic jam. The car hit me, scooped me up, launched me into the air, which resulted in a broken kneecap, a broken nose and a broken rib for me. The driver fled the scene, the driver who let me pass took care of me till the Amber Lamps arrived, and made sure I stayed awake.
Now that’s not where it ends. The guy who took care of me was so mad about the driver fleeing the scene, that he actually put some advertisements in a few national newspapers, describing the car, and where the car might have possibly been damaged. After 3 days, the guy turned himself in, claiming that the advertisement lead people to figure out what he did and threaten him.
So a random stranger spent quite some money on getting an advertisement out so the guy who ran me over could be found. I never heard of that stranger after, but I’m pretty sure the driver wouldn’t have turned himself in if it weren’t for the ads.
6. I can’t swim. One time when I was a little kid (around 6) my friend took me to her local pool. It was great when we were in the shallow end, but she thought it would be a good idea to jump off of the diving board and she made me do it too. I landed in the water and realized “wait this is terrible I can’t swim at all” so I latched like a parasite to the closest grown up and shouted “TO THE SHALLOW END!” They swam with me on their back until I could stand up in the water.
I had no concept of stranger danger I guess.
7. I was traveling around Bali with my (ex)girlfriend and ended up stuck in a village after the buses and taxis all stopped in the evening (it was inland so not many tourists). We didn’t realize this and were standing next to the road looking for someone to take us back to our village. A bunch of kids noticed and in very broken English explained that we wouldn’t be able to get home until the next day. At this point my girlfriend was getting pretty upset and honestly, I was starting to get a little worried. The kids just laughed and started flagging down cars until a nice new Mercedes pulled over, they chatted for a couple of minutes with the driver, then we were unceremoniously bundled into the back. When we asked how much it going to cost he point blank refused. He said that the kids explained our predicament and he was just doing what anyone would. In a country where most the people you meet are just looking to rip off tourists, this was so sweet. He even drove us all the way home despite the resort he worked for being a good 5 kilometres before our stop. So I suppose it wasn’t just him that was kind but the dozen or so kids that saw we were in a bind and helped as well. We didn’t get to properly thank them as we could barely understand what was happening.
8. I was working as a producer on a talk radio show. The show I was working on wasn’t terribly popular so we really wouldn’t get many callers. So on my birthday day I’m working like any other day when some guy calls in and gets his entire family to sing me happy birthday.
He had never even called before and hasn’t since. I’ve never met him. My day was instantly awesome.
9. I was 18 and had just moved to NYC by myself and was trying to adjust to the lifestyle there (having come from a small town in the south). It was my first time using the train and I had no idea how to buy a metro card. So I’m standing there at the only working machine with a line of people behind me trying to buy a card and was a little frantic because I knew people were waiting. People in the line start yelling at me to “Hurry up!” “What’re you stupid!” I start to get teary eyed which made me even more frantic.
This guy steps out of the line and tells everyone to chill out. He comes up, shows me step by step what to do and pays for a 12 ride card for me. He patted me on the back and told me, “not all New Yorkers are jerks, but next time someone tells at you, yell back and they’ll leave you alone.” In that moment I didn’t feel so alone.
Without his kindness and guidance I probably wouldn’t have stayed up there and had all the great experiences I did.
10. When I was about five in the mid 70’s, I was sitting on one of the mechanical horses that rock back and forth outside of a Woolworth’s (I think) and playing while I was waiting for my mom who was in the store. Some lady walked by and put a quarter in to make it go. I was over the moon. It is a moment of pure joy that I’ve remembered vividly. I still even remember what that glorious kind stranger looked like.
11. A few years back, I ran out of gas on my way home from work. I manage to get my car to median so I wasn’t totally blocking traffic. I was stuck at this point no one I could call and no money. I had 3 people stop and help me. The first guy ask whats wrong? if I was okay? If I had any money on me for gas etc. I told him My car was out of gas, had no way of getting to a gas station and showed him my check that I had yet to cash so I had no money. He left and car two shows up. Car two I chatted for a bit but she said she couldn’t really help me out which is all good. So the 3rd person to stop is an undercover officer. Really nice guy helped me push my car towards the grass and brain stormed ideas for the situation because he didn’t want to leave me there. Well as me and the cop are talking car number 1 pulls up, gets out and hands me a a full 10 gallon gas can. I profusely thanked the guy even offered to get his number so I could pay him back. He refused just said it was really no problem. I didn’t ask this guy to spend his money on gas for me but he did anyway and I’m thankful he did. Too bad I’ll never get a chance to pay him back.
12. Don’t want to make this too long, but I basically bought tickets this weekend to a baseball game for my anniversary trip to a city my wife and I have never visited. Unfortunately, partially because of the way stubhub had the screen laid out, but mostly because I didn’t pay close enough attention, I accidentally bought tickets for the wrong date. I posted on that city’s subreddit hoping to find someone who both wanted tickets to that game but also might want to help out a fellow redditor. The support was mostly positive but no one wanted the tickets. All of a sudden I get a PM from a random guy telling me that he didn’t want the tickets but he could buy discounted tickets to the game I needed if I wanted an affordable way to replace my tickets. A few PMs were exchanged and I had the tickets in my inbox. I replied asking how he wanted to be paid and he simply said that it was on him and to enjoy my time in the city. I can’t believe that a random stranger over the internet would be so generous. I won’t mention his name here (until I PM him asking if he wants me to) because he didn’t do this for attention in any way.
13. I once got separated from my family on a crowded street. Must have been 4 or 5 years old. When it hit me, I just stood there and started bawling my eyes out. An old Chinese guy sitting nearby got up, sat me on his stool and went off and found my mom. I never saw him again but 35 years later, I still haven’t forgotten him.
14. I lost my tickets to the 2012 NBA Finals on my way there. I got to the gate and saw that my tickets weren’t in my bag or pockets, and I felt so bad for myself and my brother, who could now not get in.
I walked from the gates and just stood, watching hundreds go in for the game. A guy and his girlfriend came up and asked if we were okay, and if we needed any extra tickets. We explained what happened and he explained that he had gotten extra tickets off a friend and had nobody to give them to. So to guy and his girlfriend, thank you so much!!!
15. Got mugged outside a bar. I always keep a credit card in a different pocket though for this very reason. Was still pretty drunk, out of it and decided to just sit there and wait for police.
Police never showed (my city is great…) so I took a cab to the train station to get home. Got to the train station, grabbed a ticket and just sat down. One of the train station security guards saw how disheveled I was and started asking me what happened. I told him how I got hit in the back of the head, kicked in the ribs and threatened at knife point for my valuables. First thing that comes out of his mouth was “Stupid kids!!!” He was an older black gentleman and I immediately laughed and told him the guy was not a child.
I still go to that train station and see him once a while and we always smile at each other. It doesn’t sound like much but that laugh felt so good after the night I had and I’ll never forget it.
16. When I was a little kid my great uncle had killed himself. We ordered pizza because no one wanted to cook dinner. The Pizza Hut lady must have felt a great deal of sympathy for my mom because she had came back after her shift was over with a potted plant and a card.
17. When I was a kid we didn’t have a lot of money, so we often shopped at thrift store. What I loved about that was that you could get 10 books for a dollar, so I would plant myself in front of the book section and make piles of which ones I wanted to get and then decided on 10 after I’d gone through them all.
One day an older lady saw me sitting with my piles and asked if I liked to read. I told her I did and showed her a few of the books I found that I liked. She smiled and then pulled a dollar out of her purse, handed it to me and said, “Promise me that you’ll keep reading.” I was so happy and immediately stood up and thanked her while nodding my head. She smiled again and walked away and I went back to my piles, now able to pick out another 10 books. This was probably about 20 years or so ago, but I still think of her whenever I buy a new book.
18. A friend and I decided to backpack around Europe (we are from the UK) and look for work picking fruit etc to make ends meet along the way. After a month of travelling and looking unsuccessfully for work, we found ourselves in Avignon in France, living rough by the river. My friend decided he was going to try to walk/hitch back to England and I decided to try for a few more days to find work.
Two days later and I had failed to find any work and had not eaten. An obviously homeless guy wanders up to me, his only obvious possession was a grill rack, like you might put in an oven. He asked (he barely spoke English) if I was hungry and of course I said yes. He put down his grill rack, leaned over the edge of the river and proceeded to pluck fish after fish out of the water with his hand and put them on the grill.
He then asked if I liked pears and what sort of cigarettes I smoked. I said yes and told him Marlboro’s. He disappeared for half an hour and came back with a load of pears and cigarette butts with a bit left on them, all Marlboro. He then setup a fire, cooked the fish and we sat and ate the feast and smoked the cigarettes he rolled from the butts.
The next day I went to a local distribution point and managed to hitch back to the UK. I will never forget his gesture.
19. In London one day, a guy handed me an all-day underground/bus pass without saying a word. It was like, 9:00 AM, so I used it pretty much all day long.
20. I had severe anorexia in high school. I used to run every day. At 5’7, I went from 158 lbs to 90 lbs over a summer. I ran myself thin, literally, and starved myself. My meals every day were the same things: a bowl of oatmeal, Special K cereal, some grapes. Every day I ran the same route. There was an elderly man who always sat on his porch. We never spoke but would half smile or wave to each other as I ran by. He was there from the beginning and basically watched my “progress”. One day I was running in a down pour but I didn’t care. I needed to keep burning off calories. It wasn’t until about half way that I just got fed up. I couldn’t believe I was doing this to my body. To myself. I slowed down to a walk and started crying. It was raining anyway and didn’t think anyone would notice. As I walked past that mans house, he yelled out to me “It gets better every day”. I nodded. I went home and admitted myself to the hospital. It was the nicest thing he could have done because I never had any encouragement. People were always judgmental and he wasn’t being that. I wouldn’t have admitted myself that day or even that week if he had just ignored me or looked away.
21. Pretty much anyone who helped us out in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. My mom, my little sister, and I were stuck in a flooded hospital for a few days. Wildlife and Fisheries and some Lake Charles firefighters who had come to the area boated us out. The boat I ended up in was piloted by a firefighter, and it was his birthday. Yet he was going around a flooded city miles and miles away from his home rescuing people.
We eventually ended up in Lafayette at a Waffle House. Someone gave my little sister a stuffed animal. Another man offered to give us a ride to his house to let us shower (we stank to the high heavens) and rest up while we waited on relatives to come get us. We didn’t do that, but he did give us a ride to another Waffle House after our family went to the wrong one (AND DECIDED TO ORDER FOOD INSTEAD OF COMING GET US).
The doctor who remained behind at the hospital to keep all the pets alive. When we were evacuated, it was humans only, no animals. We had to leave our dog. One doctor refused to leave, so the National Guard kept boating in animal food to keep them going. Eventually, the company sent in boats and helicopters (Matthew McConaughey was actually on scene) to get all the pets out. In a cruel twist, his two pets were the only two out of 80ish to die.
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We never met this person (or people), but someone paid for our dog to get surgery on her leg. After they were taken out of the hospital, they bounced around a couple different shelters. At one, someone noticed she needed the surgery; and they anonymously paid for it. Then they paid for a private plane to fly her to Houston (where we were at the time).
Katrina sucked. But I really got to see the good in people because of it. There are more stories, but those are the ones of strangers who never came back into my life. I owe them a huge debt for everything they did for a bunch of random people who needed help. People can really be awesome.
22. When I was a kid, I apparently had an unrelenting hatred for swans, so one day while I am the beach with my family, I wander off and start challenging a couple of swans to a toddler vs bird fight. The male bird shrieks this really freaky war cry and charges my butt. A random stranger saw this and grabbed me (my mother couldn’t run due to having a broken leg). He ended up saving me from a very brutal bird.
23. To this day, because of a stranger, I have learned to never judge people by their appearance. Rewind to 2008…I am driving from home to college. I am about 50 miles from the town my college is in, and I pull off to get gas. As I am filling up my tank, there is a car next to me that has what you would call people who look “white trash”, and are in a car that looks like a hybrid of fast and furious/low rider. I am sitting there pumping my gas and just unnecessarily judging the shit out of the people in the car. It was a couple with a young baby.
As I am pumping my gas, the husband goes into the gas station to pay, and as he is passing my car on the way out tells me I have a flat tire on the passenger side (I would have never seen this because my gas tank is on the driver side). Now here I am, a snooty college kid, and I have no fucking idea how to change a flat. I grab the spare and the guy just says “do you need help”- I said no, I can figure it out, and he walks away. So I am sitting there like a fucking idiot trying to change a tire completely wrong, and the guy comes back- with a hydrolic jack, a nice tire iron, and some other tools. He says “let me help you man, you don’t have this stuff”- and changes my fucking tire. Literally got all dirty, his wife said they were happy to do, and didn’t accept the $20 I had on me. Kindest fucking people I ever met. Made me feel like such a dick for the unnecessary judging I did but taught me a valuable lesson.
24. Grew up in a small town in Texas with parents who are incredibly xenophobic and small minded. My senior year of college I landed an internship in NYC. I had never really been out of Texas before that. After months of dire warnings from my parents of things like, “When you get there, DON’T look any strangers in the eye!”, I finally arrived at JFK. The cab drops me off at the apartment building and I unload my 4 suitcases (was going to be there 3 months). This guy walking in to the building grabs one of my suitcases and I thought, “This is it: my parents were right. I’ve been in NYC 30 minutes and this guy is robbing me!” Nope, he was just a nice guy who lived in my building, barely spoke any English but grabbed my heaviest suitcase and walked it up the 4 flights of stairs to my apartment.
25. I have a few but the two that stick out for me are from last year.
Our family’s first time in America. We were waking down the street at Hollywood Studios, have just been to the Tower of Terror, when a woman (Disney employee) just runs out of the hut thing she was working in with a massive bowl of ice cream, and other stuff and said “Here, that’s for you.”
I said “Why?” Aaand she replied “just because”.
I don’t know if it’s a Disney policy thing, or maybe someone ordered it and it was only going to be thrown away but it still made our day.
The second was on our last day, at Downtown Disney, queuing at the Earl of Sandwich for lunch……massive queue. Got talking to a woman who said she worked at Disney in California. At the till she offered to pay for our lunch,but I’d already paid. She explained she had lots of Disney dining credits to use up, so made us choose loooooads of desserts . Cookies etc. all for free.
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I try and pay things forward with random acts of kindness too. I randomly paid for the drive through bill of the car behind me once at McDonalds. A woman and her son. The smile on their face was unforgettable.
Changed a few tyres too.
And last week, I’d just put air in all my tyres when two women pulled up in a car behind me and asked me if I know how it worked, because she struggled last time. So I sorted her tyres for her.
Turns out it was Guy Garveys mum. (Lead singer of the band Elbow).
26. I once killed my car in the dead of winter as my sister and I were leaving high shool for the day. Probably -10f at the time or colder, with strong, icy winds blowing snow everywhere. I stupidly didn’t have any gloves or a hat, but I got out of my car and tried to flag down someone. I saw several of my friends and acquaintances drive past, when finally a minivan stops. A fellow high schooler hops out and over the next 30 minutes (we had some issues) got my car started. I met the guy through a mutual friend my last year of high school and now consider him a good friend of mine.
27. Truck driver flashed his beams at me and saved my life when I slowed own and missed rocks around a blind corner at 4AM in Northern California… Thank you truckers!!!
28. When I was laid off years ago, with my wife and two kids to feed, someone would send me either $100 cash and actually a grocery gift card in the mail. It came every 1-2 weeks with no return address. To this day I have no idea who was sending it.
29. It wasn’t much really but it really helped me out when I needed it. My car was broken down and I figured out it was the battery terminal that died. I had a spare in the glovebox from the previous owner and was trying the best I could with limited tools to change it out so I could get back home. I’m standing there with the hood up when this electricians van pulls up beside me, the guys get out and (I suppose) see that I’m having some trouble. This guy was a saint and I would have been screwed if he didn’t offer help, I had the wrong size terminal and the bolt hole was too small. He got out a cordless drill with a taper bit and widened the hole in the washer for me and got everything put back together in just a few minutes.
Thanks random electrician!
30. Back in 2008 when I was nine about to turn 10 I was walking to school with my mom, aunt and cousin and got run over by some idiot driving a Toyota Tundra. I blacked out but then I woke up in the middle of the street and I see a lady well dressed helping me until the ambulance got there and assisted us. I was a mess, I was bleeding from my lip but at that instance I thought something worse happened. I tried to get up and look for my mom and I see her laying probably 8-10 feet away from me not moving at all. I started to panic and cry but this lady kept me calm through it. My aunt and cousin were okay. I never saw that well dressed lady again ever. Never got her name either. But God bless her for that. The good part though is that my mom was okay too and we all got through it.
31. When I was about 10 or 11, my family went to a tourist town not far from our house for a couple nights (we went a lot in those days, so I can’t remember exactly which time this was). Most of the places we went to were huge and I had to be with a parent, but there was one much smaller park (a train, a merry-go-round, and a bunch of interactive stuff), and this particular time, my parents decided I was old enough to walk around on my own as long as I wore a watch and checked in every few hours at a prearranged time/place. Being so young, I had no concept of self-regulation and I got thirsty but didn’t have money and couldn’t find a fountain. A woman there with her young kids stopped me and asked if I needed something to drink, and bought me a lemonade from a vending machine. I never got her name and thanks to my face blindness I wouldn’t recognize her even if I saw her again, but if you happen to be a reddit user and you bought a lemonade for a little girl with curly hair at Storybook Gardens about twelve years ago, your act of kindness has never been forgotten.
32. As I was about to enter the highway after a long day of work a man got out of his car behind me and ran up to mine. He yelled and wave to get my attention so I would come to a stop and let him come up to my window. Turns out that he wanted to tell me my tire was flat – helping me avoid potential disaster on my ride home for work.
He didn’t help me fix it or stick around but I was very impressed by how proactively he handled the situation. It was pretty crazy for him to leave his car unattended like that in the middle of the busy street.
[Image credit: michaelheim / Shutterstock.com]
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