People on Quora were asked: “What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?” These are some of the most inspirational and heartwarming answers.
1. Right away you can tell this is going to be so rewarding
I was a Girl Scout from age 418. At a certain point, all of my friends (with a few rare exceptions) quit, and it became universally accepted once we got to high school in our tiny troop that no one would discuss our involvement outside of meetings, as it was no longer cool.
The culmination of Girl Scouts is the Gold Award, which is similar to the Boy Scout Eagle Award. Only 5.4% of eligible Girl Scouts successfully earn the Gold Award – its ridiculously time consuming and often expensive. To earn the award, you pick a project youre passionate about that can somehow help the community. I believe (although it may have changed since I earned it, so I could be wrong) it required around 80 hours of community service, a 10 page proposal and another multi-page summary of your project at the end, which for a high school student juggling extracurriculars and a heavy course-load was excessive.
For my project, I chose to teach an art class to foreign-speaking economically disadvantaged senior citizens. I had never taught art before, only taken it, so it was nerve-wracking to say the least. Adding to my nerves was the fact that I chose to teach my class at a subsidized assisted living development where the students were primarily Indian and Chinese and spoke no English. I had to find an adviser that wasnt a family member to mentor me, and a woman who owned a framing store offered her time and energy to teach me framing and provide me with materials, free of charge. My mom also helped me fund my class (and spent countless hours helping me write my proposals and plan my lessons).
My fellow Girl Scouts volunteered their time that summer to help me teach my class, lugging boxes of art supplies to and from our van every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon for 8 weeks. These were all acts of kindness that I couldnt repay and that genuinely humbled me, but theyre not the point of this story.
On my first class, I stood in front of a room of about 15 students, all staring blankly at me with their paper and materials in front of them. I had to communicate entirely with pictures, as they couldnt understand a word I was saying. The lesson that day was drawing an apple with charcoal. Everyone copied my motions closely, some creating their own elaborate backgrounds and some choosing to go more abstract with their apple interpretations. The levels of skill varied greatly, but everyone had huge smiles and was enthusiastically creating their own versions of art. Week after week, I taught them to draw something new, and kept their artwork at the end of the class, promising a big show to display their art for all of their friends and family at the end of the 8 weeks.
The program director told me after the first class how excited they all were that I was teaching them art, as the assisted living community couldnt afford programs for the residents, so they often didnt have anything to do. Many of the people in the homes were extremely poor, and much of their time was spent sitting in the community room that had one tiny TV in a corner and a few worn couches. You would never know it from how they acted in my class- they were all so excited and upbeat every week, and I came to know their personalities through our limited communication.
On the week of the art show, I used my mentors framing studio to mount all of their artwork so it would be ready to show. My mom and I were so excited- we had invited all of their families to come, and many people were planning to attend. I spent time hanging the artwork around the community room, and put out refreshments for the attendees. One by one, the residents came in with their families, excited to show off their work and celebrate.
And here is the kindest thing that anyone has ever done for me: Every single one of these residents, who had barely any money to their name, brought me a gift. I got Vanilla Soy Milk, a handmade flower necklace, a box of cookies. The gifts kept coming, and even as I insisted they should keep them for themselves, they shook their heads and simply walked on to admire their art. It was just so deeply humbling to have all of these people who barely knew me and, lets be honest, had probably not learned the most from my amateur art class, giving what little they had to me to show their appreciation. Ill never forget the feeling I had as I left that art show, hands full of assorted knick knacks and heart full of gratitude.
2. The kindness of strangers
I was supposed to have checked into my student dormitory at 5:00pm, but the time was now 5:40pm. I looked around and realized that I had slept through my arrival to the Paris Gare du Nord terminal from London. The train arrived around 4:45pm
It was supposed to be my first time checking into the student dormitory — the place where I’d live for the next half year in my semester abroad in Paris. Lugging all 75 pounds of my things with me through the Metro (underground subway), I arrived at the dormitory, only to find that it was completely closed. It never occurred to me that dormitories wouldn’t be 24/7 like the ones we had in America.
I wasn’t sure what to do. This was the first time I had travelled alone and to Europe. I hadn’t exchanged my money yet.. and it seemed like all the shops were closed anyways.
I lugged all my baggage with me, back to the Gare du Nord terminal, where I decided that I would stay the night. Train terminals had to be 24/7 right? Luckily, the sun was still somewhat there and nothing seemed dangerous yet. If homeless people did it, how dangerous could it be? A man noticed my difficulty carrying my belongings and exclaimed “Oh lala!” and clucked his tongue. I smiled a little…an American courtesy. To my horror, he turned around and started following me. He touched my hand in a very unfamiliar way. Something about it made my skin crawl. I refused to look at him and thankfully, he left me.
I kept a close hand on my belongings and burrowed into my jacket. As the sun set, it got a little chilly. I managed to find a corner at the train station, where people seemed to be staying a little longer than the usual come and go bustle.
Around 8pm, a Nigerian woman walked over in all her bright colors and sat down next to me. She looked at me and then minded her own business. Throughout the next hour, she and I were the only constants in that little section.
It got really cold. Around 9:30pm, a tall Nigerian man came over and started talking…I bristled because I was nervous, but then I realized that he was talking to the woman. My French was rusty– I had hoped to pick it up during my semester abroad, but I realized that listening to native French was not the same as learning French in my French classroom in high school.
Dangereuse… Ma soeur… s’il vous plait… That was all I could make out. Dangerous. Sister. Please.
The woman started arguing and then the man replied in the same calm voice. He seemed to be asking her to leave. He seemed to be begging her, calling her sister. She kept looking at me, and finally she said loudly in heavily accented English, “Not without the girl.”
That got my attention. I was unsure, but there was something about this woman. The man nodded and then she got up. She pulled me up and motioned for me to follow her. I asked her what was going on and she managed to get out a few english words that conveyed the Train Station was not a safe place at night for young women. The man had instructed her to go find a cheap hotel outside on the street which would cost 40Euros at the very most.
I didn’t know what to do, but I followed her. She got a 2 star hotel and paid for it. I dragged my belongings upstairs and into a small bedroom with a sink and a queen sized bedroom. I sat down in the corner of the room and fell asleep instantly. For some reason I felt safe. Sometime during the night, she picked me up and tucked me into the bed. She took the other side and slept outside the covers. In the morning at 8am, she rose and then left. She probably had a train to catch.
I woke up at 10ish to an empty room. The manager said everything was paid. I took all my belongings and went back to the student dormitory which was open during normal business hours, and finally settled in to what would be my home for the next 5 months.
There was something about that woman. I don’t always make the best decisions when I go on an adventure, but I’ve never had a stranger pull me out of a potentially consequential decision, either. I will never forget anything about her. I think something terrible would have happened to me, if not for her.
3. All it takes is someone willing to listen
My dad drove from Houston to Atlanta in 2000 while I was having a tough semester at Georgia Tech. I was contemplating leaving school. I had given up my dream of being a music producer to focus on school. I was down right miserable.
When he arrived, he didn’t rip me a new one. He didn’t give me a generic pep talk. He listened to me. He just listened. He knew I wasn’t a quitter. We met with a school counselor, developed a plan and decided to stick it out. I graduated with my Electrical Engineering degree two years later. My dad passed away the next year in 2003, but he got a chance to see me graduate.
4. A quintessential good samaritan story
I had recently come to USA and bought a car after around 2months. As providence would have it I met with an accident (I wasn’t injured)just 3 days after my purchase. While I was headed home, I was rear ended on aslippery Bellevue road. The rear panel and the trunk were severely damaged andchunks of the body came out. I drove it up to a place where I and the other guyexchanged our insurance details and phone numbers. Oh, and during all this Iwas as nervous as a cat, oblivious of all the steps one must take when one hasan accident in USA (I didn’t dial 911).
After the exchange, my car would not start. I was stuckthere. Completely stuck. Luckily, I had friends, whom I called, and they droveme back to my place.
The next day, I had a host of ominous thoughts sprouting inmy head, however the first and foremost thing to be done was to get my carstarted! I knew towing was an option but a very expensive one. I did not knowwhere to get it fixed. I did not know what all my insurance covered (Yes, itsounds silly but then I never imagined I would have an accident so soon). Icalled up the sales person who I bought the car from. His voice mail said hewas taking the day off and would not be back until the next day. It seemed likeall doors of getting help were slowly closing when suddenly my phone buzzed andit was Joe (the sales guy). He listened to my story and said he was on his wayto pick me up from my office and go and give the car a jump start.
He came in his private vehicle, took me to the spot where itwas parked and gave it a jump start . He then took me back to the dealershipand suggested a Honda approved body shop to get the car fixed. Sensing that Iwas alone and this being my first encounter with a misfortune in foreign landhe drove me to the body shop. There he negotiated with them for the servicecharge on my behalf and used his contacts to ensure that I would get thefastest service possible.
After finishing up with all this, he offered to drop me back to my office. Although I was hesitant at first, I agreed, knowing how difficult it is to move around in the public buses. On our way back, he spoke very reassuringly, telling me the rules and how I could claim the devaluation of my car to the other party’s insurance company. He even offered to help me in case I decided to go to court over this (I didn’t).
We reached my office. By then I had a clear view of all that I needed to do to take care of the situation. I regained my composure and knew I had somebody to take me through should some problem arise. I did not know how I could even begin to thank him.
My mumblings were muted when he uttered: “My son is your age. I could be like your Godfather. Whenever you need any help, just call me. You need somebody by your side in this foreign country”. With those words, a reassuring smile and loving eyes he bade goodbye.
5. I can tell this will be turned into a short film someday
I had been hunting in vain for a deep, deep sofa/loveseat. I needed it to be small enough to fit into my child’s bedroom so that she could sit on my lap or remain in my arms while a nurse suctioned her, or fed her through her g-tube. It had to be covered in vinyl so it would not be a dust collector (my daughter required a dust- free environment due to life threatening allergies and a trach per doctor orders), and so it could be wiped down with industrial strength hospital disinfectant. The sofa/loveseat I was looking for didn’t exist. It was before the internet, and I had to drive all over Los Angeles to find it. I looked everywhere in vain.
One hot day, my child was not doing well and was gasping for breath. I was coming back from the pediatrician’s office and had to pull over to suction her tracheotomy tube. To do so, I stopped at the nearest place and I parked under a shady tree. My daughter was really sick. I was in those days often afraid she was going to die and was told it would take constant vigilance on my part to make sure she didn’t–by nurses I trusted. She was too hot. I took her inside the air conditioned furniture store.
Holding her in my arms, with the suction machine over my shoulder, I walked around the furniture store to see whether they had the sofa we needed. She started coughing and turned blue (cyanosis is a symptom of oxygen deprivation).
I put her on one of the store sample sofas, suctioned her, and her color returned. In the middle of it all, a man apparently working there asked me if he could help.
I looked up and burst into tears. Nobody had ever offered any kindness to me before that moment except for a hideous social worker in the hospital who asked me how was I feeling about five minutes after my daughter was trached. The man who offered to help in the furniture store looked shocked that I was crying and brought me tissues, calmed me down, and started to talk with me. I told him I was looking for a sofa and he asked me what I was looking for, and did I have specs.
I told him what, why, size, dimensions (I had measured everything, drew my ideal sofa, and just handed him my page). He asked if he could make a copy of it and I assumed he was just being nice and looking on my behalf for the loveseat/sofa I was having so much difficulty finding. I said sure, thanks, have a go at it .
Ten days later, there was a knock at the door. A truck was unloaded, and the sofa, exactly as I had designed it with the precise measurements and best quality construction had been custom-made by the furniture store, and given to my daughter and me. I cried. And cried.
That’s the nicest thing anyone unrelated to me has ever done. I’ve been passing along random acts of kindness ever since.
6. This one hit home fast
My parents have hardly been with each other for 30 months in the past 20 years just for our education.
Being born and brought up in a village, it was my parents dream to educate their children and give us the life they could not get. My mother survived in a city without her husband without knowing how to read or write in English language. My father just having passed 10th or 11th grade flew to a foreign country doing the saddest of jobs just so that the high currency exchange can help us survive back here. How he survived on just half of his salary only God knows.
There are infinite good things one can do for another but the extraordinary capability of a parent remains unmatched. Cynics might say it’s the selfish gene but for me there is nothing else closer to divinity than my parents.
7. “So we’d make it happen”
People have overall been very kind to me over the years. One thing sticks out as the kindest thing anyone ever did for me, though. A few years ago I was working in the Cambridge branch of Microsoft. Im from the USA and had been in the UK for six years.
I had a two year old son. It was becoming clear that he would benefit from help we could get in the US, but which was much more difficult to get in the UK. We tried to get help through the UKs NHS, but got minimal assistance. NHS is very good for some things, but for my sons issues – which qualify as chronic – they werent.
My boss Mitch knew about the issues as they developed. I told him I needed to go back to the US, thinking I would need to find a group willing to hire and relocate me. Our teams work was a collaboration between US and UK parts of Microsoft, and Mitch identified a business justification for me to be permanently back in the US. It was a reasonable justification, but very much at the discretion of the manager. For Mitch there was no question, my family needed to be in the US, so wed make it happen. Within two months I was fully relocated from the UK back to the US. My son was getting the care wed been hoping for, and I was working remotely for the Cambridge office. Smiles all the way around.
I worked for Cambridge remotely for another year, and then moved to another part of Microsoft internally: managing people in Cambridge and working with people in Cambridge was doable, but left me feeling like I wasnt contributing as much as I could. And so life goes on..
The move made an incredible difference for my son, and for my family as a whole. Five years later, all of our lives are dramatically better, and my son is doing wonderfully. The story would have been very different had we not been able to move back to the US, and specifically to the Seattle area. The decision worked well for Microsoft, but without Mitch I think it likely wouldnt have happened.
Thats the nicest thing anyones done for me, and it will affect the rest of my and my sons lives in a positive way. Thank you Mitch!
John L. Miller
8. Friends are medicine for a wounded heart
My 19-year marriage had ended unexpectedly and badly. My best friend lived halfway across the US; we stayed in touch, and I visited her, but she never visited me (her husband is controlling and didn’t like for her to be gone).
The day after I’d called her with the news, she called me back and told me she was coming to see me in a couple of weeks. She comes to visit, I take time off work, and things are going well. Then she tells me there’s a quilt show she wants to see. So, we go to the quilt show.
If you’ve never been to one, there are rows and rows of quilts hanging up so that you can see the entire surface of the quilt. Any noise is deadened by the hanging quilts, so everything is hushed and even though there may be a lot of people there, the way the quilts are hung makes your viewing experience seem very private. Each quilt has a sheet of paper with the artist’s name, the quilt pattern name and a brief history of the quilt pinned to the side at eye level.
My friend surged ahead of me, and I come up to a gorgeous, eye-catching pink and black quilt. I read the sheet and it’s one my friend made and she MADE IT FOR ME. She’d picked the pattern Road to Oklahoma to celebrate our shared roots. She hadn’t been in any hurry to finish it until my marriage ended…and she rushed to finish it, found this quilt show, called the guild, got it entered and shipped it off, all to show me how special I am to her.
She came up behind me and hugged me when I started crying. I still have the quilt (which is now sadly worn)…but the one I use today is the one she made me for my second wedding.
9. Live by this motto, trust me
This one is from my time in Switzerland. Me and my wife, who was about 6 months pregnant at that time, were visiting Switzerland. We were on our way to visit her brother in Cham and had to change stations at Zrich main railway station.
We had quite a bit of luggage with us, 3 BIG suitcases and various other stuff. The train halted and I was working hard to get all the suitcases down form the train and was hurrying.
Just then this old lady came up to me, and offered her help to carry the suitcases down from the train. I was shocked! Firstly because she was very old, secondly that I was convinced that the suitcase was pretty heavy and that she could break her back if she even tried to lift it (I think I even told her that!).
Then she said something that just left me speechless and I couldn’t decline her offer to help: “Together is always better.”
She was quite strong too, we thanked her and she left. Come to think of it, the sentence holds a deeper meaning and if everyone would co-operate to get things done and not give in to instincts of greed and jealousy. Whoever you were, I thank you form the bottom of my heart.
10. It’s a Christmas miracle!
When I was in high school, my family struggled financially a lot. It was just one of those things. One year, my mom felt terrible when she told us she didn’t have money for Christmas. We kids were old enough to understand and told her so. We did what we could to make things festive – for example, my mom used an old string of green and gold tinsel to outline a Christmas tree on the wall just so there was some little decoration for the season. Some people might’ve thought it looked tacky, but it was what we had.
Christmas morning, my mom received a phone call from a blocked number. On the other end was a male voice that told her to open her front door, then hung up. Warily, as a single woman with two daughters naturally would be, she went to the front door and looked out the peep hole. Nobody. She opened the door and found a stack of wrapped gifts labeled with each of our names. They either had no “from” name or it just said Santa, I’m not sure. I just remember us looking feverishly for a card, a name, anything to indicate who was so kind.
As it turned out, it was two of my mom’s coworkers, college students on a budget who had gotten to know our family and knew how badly my mom felt. So they decided between themselves they’d get us something and deliver it anonymously on Christmas morning. They then had the best friend of one girl’s brother make the phone call so we would have no idea who it was.
The fact that they planned this for weeks, went through so much trouble to surprise us, and took time out of their own Christmas morning with their families to make ours so special… it’s been over 10 years and it still makes me want to cry with gratitude.
11. Sometimes it’s the little things
It wasn’t THE nicest but I remember it all the time and it’s something anyone can do pretty much any day: after sitting for 1 1/2 hours in traffic trying to get over the SF Bay Bridge, the person in front of me paid my toll. They drove off, not looking for any thanks or recognition. I felt great about that for days. Interestingly, returning the favor is even more impactful. So when I’m in a bad mood, I try to pay someone else’s “toll” without them knowing who did it.
12. Never judge a book by its cover
This incident happened when I was doing an internship in France. On a weekend I had gone to visit Bordeaux. I had planned to roam round the city and return back on the same day. Unfortunately, I missed the last train back to my place. I didn’t have enough money to get an accommodation.
Meanwhile, I met two guys from Pakistan who probably sensed my plight and approached me. On asking I told them about my condition and without hesitating they invited me to their place. I was kinda relieved but a little skeptical. Anyways, without much options left, I decided to accompany them. On reaching at their place I realized that these people were illegal immigrants and several others were staying at this place. Despite of the scarcity they provided me with a separate bed and homemade food.
Next day I left with a different attitude towards life and people. I have made a point to be kind and helpful towards others.
13. Without wanting anything in return? Wow!
I was driving to work one day. In my state, we have lots of highways because there are lots of suburbs and every city is about 1525mins apart from each other. I lived in a particularly small suburb of Tulsa, OK.
That day, I decided to take a new, faster way to work, which required me to cross a highway into the median. I did fine until I tried to pull out onto the highway. I got too close to the edge of the median and immediately, my tire blew on the sharp concrete wedge. So I pulled over to the side of the highway. I was close enough to walk back with an hour or so, but not close enough to drive back on a flat. As I called up my mother and discussed the problem with her on the phone a large police SUV pulled up behind me.
The officer got out of his vehicle and waited patiently as I finished my phone conversation. When I got off the phone, the officer worked the problem with me. There was a school stadium parking lot on the other side of the highway, but I had to cross it again with traffic going over 60 mph. He went first, waiting for me and helping me across until I was safely parked in the lot. Then, he offered to drive me home. I asked him if he wanted me to get in the back of his car, but he said no. He had me sit in the front seat of his police vehicle as he drove me home. I even asked him if he wanted to see my drivers license or insurance and again he just said no. He didnt know anything about me, yet he had taken a risk and helped me without wanting anything in return.
14. This girl is so lucky
When I was in 7th grade, I had an accident on a two-wheeler around midnight with a small girl and her mother who were also driving a 2-wheeler. I, being under fault, stood there and apologized to them as well as to the crowd that gathered around us. The mother was being aggressive on me (considering how young I was), and despite me politely agreeing to my fault, she kept on insulting me.
Seeing this the crowd asked me to leave and said its not your fault anymore, and I can go home. Before leaving the place I shared my phone number and address with the lady and to the crowd, as I was naive and very scared.
Next day, the girl came to my house with her grandmother, and that grandmother demanded money from my parents saying the mother of that girl was injured and hospital bill was too much for them to pay. My parents called me home to settle this and to know the truth, as I was out and didnt share last nights incident with them.
When I reached home, the girl looked at me for 1 full min and God knows what must be going on in her mind, she decided not to recognize me and said I am not the one that hit them. Everyone stood still for a brief moment, and then they left apologizing to us for the trouble.
This is by far the nicest thing anyone has done for me, considering the fact that I was not at fault entirely. The girl very much knew, I was the one that met with an accident with them.
15. Be there when it counts
I was working in Pune when I decided to take the entrance test (CAT) for admission to a b-school (IIM). Due to some reasons, I had taken the written test in Calcutta and by the time the results were out I had moved back to Pune and then somewhere near Delhi. This resulted in my interview centres being scattered between Delhi and Calcutta. My father insisted on accompanying me to all the interviews, he was ready to travel from Ranchi to either city. It wasn’t because he was a control freak or that I was a girl; it was because it was a big thing for me and he wanted to be there for me. After much insistence I managed to dissuade him from traveling all the way to Delhi but he insisted on coming to Calcutta.
We arrived at Calcutta separately and he came to pick me at the station; later he took me to check out the venue a day before the interview. We chatted about various things because I was nervous about the interview. He accompanied me the next day, the venue was a hotel and only candidates were allowed to enter. My father waited the entire day, almost 5-6 hours, in the garden outside, while I went through rounds and rounds of group discussion & interview. We’re tired by the end of the day and slept off immediately. The next morning I had to catch my train back before my father, I rushed around, fearing that I might miss my train.
I was so worried, I didn’t even notice that my father was unusually silent and seemed tired, as if he hadn’t slept properly. I ran across the platform, caught my train, didn’t even say bye to my father whose train was 2 platforms away but he had still come to see me off.
Months later, my results were out, I had got a call from several b-schools. A month before my joining one, my father passed away unexpectedly. My mother told me later that he was suffering from TB, that he had been having problems for quite a while, that that was the reason why he looked so tired the day we’re rushing through Calcutta to catch my train. Despite his illness, despite the fact that I could have got calls from the b-schools that interviewed me in Delhi, my father came to be with me on one of my most crucial moments.
Sonali Ila Ekka
16. The blind leading the blind, the sick helping the sick
In 2009 I had gallbladder removal surgery. Not the easy laparoscopic kind, but the “let’s slice her belly up in two” kind, due to some complications. That’s why I received a general anaesthesia.
The surgery was early in the morning, and during the day, after I had woken up, a lot of friends came to visit, my mother was of course there all the time. I felt really fine in the evening so I urged my mother to go home and get some sleep, which she did.
I was in a room with 2 other patients, and another empty bed. The room next to us also had three patients, one of them being an old man who had a really big surgery (I forgot what). His wife was with him, but at a certain point she really needed a bit of sleep, and she popped into our room to ask if she could take a nap in the empty bed. I was the only one awake and of course I didn’t mind her having her rest, so I said sure.
She went to sleep, but less than 10 minutes later, I started having a really bad post-anaesthesia reaction (I heard it’s pretty common). I felt extremely nauseated, and my whole body wanted me to vomit. Except I didn’t [want to]. It’s obvious that vomiting uses a lot of your abdominal muscles and strength, and I had just had that whole area chopped up in pieces.
I was pretty terrified, especially because I couldn’t even lift myself in a sitting position that well. Let alone find a bag for what I needed to do.
The lady heard me struggling, instantly woke up, and spent the next two hours helping and taking care of me, just as if I was her daughter. She had so much warmth, that she made the whole ordeal seem a lot much bearable. It’s not that easy nor too pleasant for whomever is with you to hurl repeatedly while your sliced up belly has just been sewn together. Yet this complete stranger gave up her much needed sleep, came to me and offered unconditioned help and warmth, precisely what I needed to get through that moment.
(If you’re wondering, nurses weren’t really an option, the ones who worked there were brutal to say the least, and not even simulating empathy. Not to mention that there was only one nurse available at night, and I think she was attending some other patient at that moment).
17. A few kind words can go a long way
I was at the airport waiting for my flight to leave. I saw a young woman struggling with 2 suitcases, what looked like a little 3 year old little girl, plus she had a baby slung on her front in a carrier. She was not moving fast and looked panicked. I asked if I could help, she said she was afraid she would miss her flight. I told her I was happy to help, and all she said was, “Please!” I asked if I could pick her daughter up, she said sure.
So I picked up the little girl and took one bag in the other hand and said lets go. I followed the young woman as she ran toward her gate at the airport. The little girl on my hip held by one arm stared at me with her big blue eyes but never said a word. We made it, I sat the little girl down on the floor beside her mom. The young woman thanked me, I said no problem and started to leave. At the last minute the little girl ran over to me and hugged my leg. I squatted down to her level and she took my face in both of her little hands. She looked me straight in the eyes and said, “You are really a nice man.” That may be one of the best compliments I have ever had. It was so sweet, I could feel my eyes watering up a little.
I have a lot of nice memories! Life is great. I love kids. I love my wife and my wonderful kids too. Hope the story makes you smile as you recall one of your own memories.
Michael L.F. Slavin
18. One of the most selfless acts can be letting someone go
When I was in my early 20s I was dating a lovely girl named Colleen. We dated for about three years. I liked her tremendously, we got along almost perfectly, we did everything together. We were both attending community college, working minimum-wage jobs, and both living with our respective parents.
A moment came in which Colleen asked me where our relationship was going. I asked her what she meant, and she didnt really elaborate, but just said that she wanted to know where our relationship was going. I sensed that Colleen was feeling that the time had probably come for us to take things to the next level, either by moving in together, or getting married, or both, as shed dropped some subtle hints prior to this conversation. This was during a period in which I had just sorted out what I wanted to do with my life, and it would involve eventually moving away. And I was not ready to make a greater commitment to her than the one I had already made. I told her this. I also told her that I had already been wondering if we should break up, and I felt awful because I felt that I was disappointing her, that she had invested years of her life in me, and that it was not going in the direction she had hoped for. And I told her that I honestly didnt know what to do from there.
Colleen broke up with me the next day. She was heartbroken, she cried when she did it, but she told me that she was doing it not because she was not getting what she wanted. She told me that she was doing it because she didnt want me to feel awful. She did not want me to feel trapped because of honor or obligation. She did not want me to be miserable. She said that if I felt that there was something or someone else out there for me, that I should be free to pursue it. And that if I wanted to come back, then I could come back.
It was the kindest thing anyone has ever done for me. She sensed that there was no future, that I was feeling stuck, and that I needed to be set free. So, because she loved me, she set me free.
Things cooled down and after awhile we remained friends. I ended up leaving town to pursue my career. We saw each other a few times when I visited my folks. Today she is happily married with a 10-year-old daughter and is very satisfied with her life. We still talk every year or two. I will forever be grateful to her.