It’s always inspiring to see humans overcome their differences in great times of need. Here, surprised individuals share the time someone they didn’t like (or perhaps, someone who didn’t like them), actually had their back.
1. That is pure selflessness.
A friend of mine slept with my girlfriend when I was around 17. We didn’t speak for a couple years afterwards. When I was 19/20 I got so sick at a party that I passed out on the toilet. I’m told that that guy cleaned me up, carried me to a couch, and hid my car keys.
Got in a fight at school with some kid in my school (let’s call him Sam). After the fight, we never really spoke – just the occasional “sup.”
Fast-forward two years. At a party, this big guy gets in my face (he could’ve been in the NBA, he was so tall). I turn around to see if my friends were there (big mistake).
I turn back and the next thing I know, NBA guy swings for me and smacks me straight on the jaw.
I stumble and look up, see Sam flying in like a demon straight from hell. He tackles the other guy and proceeds to kick seven shades of crap out of him.
Sam gets off the other guy and asks me if I’m alright. I ask him why he helped me out.
Says he has a lot of respect for me after our fight two years prior and that guy threw a cheap shot so he helped out.
Sam & I became close friends after that night.
3. People are full of surprises.
There was a train to get from the college I went to into the city. After taking the train a few times I notice that I never got asked for my ticket and decide to skip buying one the next time.
Big mistake. This time a conductor asks for the ticket I don’t have and I try to pretend to check for one saying I must of lost it. She didn’t believe me for an instant and informs me that she has to contact the police. I panic and get angry demanding she give me more time to find my ticket. She turns her back, and these guys, one of which I knew and didn’t like at all, slips me his ticket.
When I produce a ticket for her, she notices their proximity and checks all of theirs, they slip their tickets behind their backs to one another as she checks so that it seems they each have one.
4. Put your past behind you.
In high school, I dated a guy for almost a year. During that time, he had a female friend that I was not particularly fond of. I will admit I was a lot less levelheaded back then than I am now, and I was also very sensitive, so I always thought she was flirting with him and it really upset me. She did it a lot because she knew it bothered me and loved seeing me get upset. But we were like 14, what can you do.
Anyways, he broke up with me kind of out of the blue and it was really devastating to newly 15-year-old me. Cue this girl that I really hated stepping in to give me comfort and be my friend. She invited me to sit with her friends at lunch, started hanging out with me, really went out of her way to make me feel better. High school was super petty, but I will never forget how kind she was to me in the aftermath of all of that.
5. Sometimes the least significant people to us do the most significant things.
There was a kid in my grade, Tyler, that just didn’t like me. I was friends with his friends, but he just really gave off the vibe that he didn’t like me, would casually insult me or just be mean for no reason.
One day we were playing soccer during lunch and I slipped in the mud running back on defence, flew into the air like a cartoon character, and landed flat on my back. That was the first time I had the wind knocked out of me, and no one had warned me what it would be like.
As I was lying there, unable to breathe, thinking I was going to die after a comical fall with most of the class huddled around me watching, and the only one who did anything to help was my nemesis, Tyler, who shouted, “Breathe through your nose!”
Suddenly, after 5 seconds of wide-eyed terror, I could breathe through my nose and the panic subsided. I’m not even sure if I managed to choke out a “thanks” once I got up.
Tyler didn’t magically become my friend afterwards, in fact he continued to treat me the same, but it’s been nearly 20 years and I haven’t forgotten that.
6. It only takes one person to say something.
Picture me: a socially awkward little girl with big dorky glasses, wearing a skirt.
The other kids picked on me a lot. One day at the lunch table, another girl said to me, “No one wants you sitting with us,” and then a different girl snapped at her, “Don’t tell her where to sit. You don’t get to decide that.”
7. Here’s to you, Mrs. Harrison.
Mrs. Harrison was a naturally annoying teacher. She treated the high school students like little children, and would wheeze and sound like Mickey Mouse when she got angry. She had a reputation of being mean and unforgiving. People joked that she gave out detentions like candy.
I didn’t like her because she would talk down to me, and always was quick to hand out punishments for anything.
The day after my sister committed suicide, I skipped her class. I didn’t want to deal with her, so I wandered the halls aimlessly (continued).
I got too caught up in my thoughts, and didn’t realize I was walking down the hall near her class until it was too late.
There she was, looking remarkably like a beach ball wearing too short of a shirt. She was waddling at the head of the class, back to the classroom assumedly. Before I could dip out, she looked up and saw me.
My heart dropped into my shoes. I knew she was going to slap me with a detention, or worse, contact my mother.
Instead, she let the class file into the room behind her, and closed the door. She grabbed me, and hugged me close, and told me that I could take all the time I needed.
And then she was gone.
It was such a small gesture. But it really hit me hard.
8. Interesting turn of events.
Not me but a good friend of mine. I almost wish it had happened to me because it’s very cool.
He comes home after work and his wife isn’t there. Makes himself some dinner, tries to call her on the phone, no answer. About 10:00 he’s getting rather worried, they’d had an argument the day before and she was the kind to hold a grudge, so he was thinking she was most likely trying to make him suffer.
At 10:30, he sees a car pull up in front of his house. He thinks to himself “Finally, now we can get this over with.” His wife doesn’t get out though, and he’s never seen the car before. It just sits in front of his house with two people in it. About 10:45, he gets curious as to why these people are sitting in the car in front of his house, so he goes out to take a look (continued).
It was his wife, and some guy she’d picked up at a bar, making out.
My friend completely loses his temper, opens the car door, and pulls the guy out. They start yelling at each other, and eventually they’re trading punches. Wife calls the police, and about 2 minutes later they arrive and arrest both men. The wife immediately says that her husband started punching her and that the other guy was just trying to help.
And then the guy (whom my friend has never seen before) says, “No, that’s not what happened at all,” completely contradicting the wife’s story.
He tells the police he’d just met the wife, had no idea she was married, and he was fighting because my friend had pulled him out of his car.
9. Holdeyn was just holding on for the right moment.
When I was about 10, this guy started hanging around me and my group of friends I lived in an apartment complex with. His name was Holdeyn and was a few years older than all of us. He was a real jerk to say the least. Constantly screwing with us, told us how lame we were, even some physical bullying now and then.
No one really ever said anything because we were all kind of afraid of him. Anyway, a few years later we were playing football. On the opposite team of me there was a huge dude that hated my guts for no reason. I was running the ball down the field and he tackled me.
But once we were on the ground he did not get off of me, but proceeded to punch me in the eye as hard as he could. As I was laying on the ground clutching my bloody face and panicking (I thought I was blind, never had been punched in the face at this point) Holdeyn whooped this dude’s butt.
I never really got the chance to properly thank him.
10. That what you call taking one for the team.
This kid who got like a 1.2 GPA every marking period bothered the crap out of me. We had cooking class together – it was the only time I ever saw him during my day. We were in the same kitchen so we always cooked together. He always burnt the food or found some stupid way to screw things up.
I hated him so much at the time because he would just be careless, so I only let him wash the dishes, but he kept breaking them. But one day I was cooking and I burnt our cookies to a crisp and they caught fire in the oven (continued).
Well I started flipping because I barely had an A in the class and [failing this assignment] would bring me down and kill my GPA – I was going for a 4.0. Well this kid I hated looked at me about to cry just staring at the flaming cookies and just said, “Oh man I burnt the cookies again.”
I tried to explain to him it was me and he was like, “Nah I got it, I already have an F, I don’t think a D would hurt my grade.”
He took the blame and saved my GPA. I was so thankful and now we are friends.
11. A friend in need is a friend in green.
When I worked for the US Forest Service, I lived with my crew in a dormitory barracks (really just a single-wide trailer) parked on the USFS compound in a small town out west.
One day, our LEO (law enforcement officer) decided to host a training exercise on the compound. He invited his staff, the county Sheriff’s Department, and their K-9’s.
Of course the dogs immediately hit on my barracks. Crews had been smoking reefer in there every day since 1972. That trailer smelled to the high heavens (continued).
Now, I’d never much cared for the LEO. He dressed like Rambo, wore his pistol inside the office, and had always seemed a little cold towards the hippies that worked on the district (most of whom were on my crew & were alright guys).
But he did my crew a solid–when the county Sheriff offered to call the county judge & get a warrant for the barracks that afternoon, the LEO insisted that they had to go through federal channels to search federal property.
So he called up the AUSA and left a voicemail, which, of course, was never returned. The US Attorney’s Office doesn’t have much enthusiasm for cases that don’t involve terrorism, money laundering, or human trafficking. Searching some podunk trailer to bust a couple seasonal employees simply isn’t on their agenda.
We never talked about it, but I’m sure the LEO knew he was squashing the whole thing when he made it a federal case.
12. Never judge a book by its cover.
I was 17 years old, dropped out of high school, and was essentially living with my friend (same age) and his band (10+ years older).
The bassist was this grungy guy – an eclectic persona to say the least.
I. Did. Not. Like him.
Not one bit. I didn’t know if he sold drugs, but I was sure he did them (I also did drugs, but 17-year-old me thought I was better than this burnout).
I avoided him at all costs if I could. I just got that feeling that you get when you’re around unpredictable, scary people.
Flash forward a year later. It’s me and my buddy, and this guy bought us an 18 rack of beer. We’re getting along okay at this point, but I’m still incredibly wary of this dude.
The two neighbors (35+) walk in. One asks for a beer. I oblige.
He asks for another, immediately. I decline, saying ,”It’s all Nate (friend) and I are splitting for the night” (continued).
He says. “What if I take it?”
Neighbor: “What if I walk into the kitchen, and take all of your beer? What are you going to do about it?”
I was petrified. The scary dude, (Jeremy), stands up and says, “I’m not going to let you do that.”
Jeremy :”I’m not going to let you punk these kids. Not in this house, not tonight.”
The neighbor punched him in the face, and they fought, Jeremy kicking his ass out of the house afterwards.
I don’t judge people based on looks anymore.
13. Sometimes it’s just the thought that counts.
In college, I had Thanksgiving dinner plans with a friend, whose grandma died two days before, so he decided he didn’t want to get together (understandable). However, it left me with nowhere to go because the campus was isolated, the dining hall was going to be closed, and I had no time to get a bus after classes to the grocery store.
I knew some classmates were having a big dinner, so I called over there the day before and asked if I could join them– said I would help with cooking, dishes, whatever. My “friend” snapped and said, “No! We have too many people coming already! We can’t fit anyone else.”
I found out a few days later (through others) that the one roommate who lived there that was usually really catty to me, lit into her for leaving someone alone on Thanksgiving. It made me feel a little better.
14. “If you were sexist, I’d tell you.”
This was in my PhD program.
Enter Megan. I hated Megan. Most people hated Megan. She was loud, obnoxious, talked crap about people behind their backs and was the kind of person who, if you complained at a party about how you had issues with a certain professor she’d go running to that prof to tell them you said that.
One time I did a movie event for the department and showed Hitchcock’s Notorious. Megan showed up and announced at the beginning that she loves to heckle movies and spent the entire screening ridiculing the film. And since Megan was a major figure in the program (she took on every extra responsibility a grad student was allowed and had a hand in everything), it was impossible to avoid her and, since we were in the same area, I regularly had to have classes with her.
Enter Jennifer: I hated Jennifer even more than Megan. Everyone hated Jennifer, including Megan. Jennifer was in her forties and switching careers into teaching but because she was older than most of the grad students she believed she was wiser than all of us and never hesitated to talk down to us, lord her sense of self-entitlement over us and treat anyone who disagreed with her for any reason like they were an idiot (continued).
Enter Harry. Harry was one of the first people I met in the program and I had known him for awhile. Harry is awesome. He was a retired lawyer who decided to get an MA so he could teach some evening college classes in his free time to keep himself busy. I had many classes with Harry and always liked him.
I only ever had one class with all three of them together though. During a discussion I mentioned how I hated the law field then nodded to Harry and said “with all due respect to the lawyer in the room.”
Jennifer then shouted at me. “You know I used to be a lawyer right?”
I did not know this. With how much she loved to rub her “wisdom” and “experience” in our faces it had somehow never come up.
“I’m sorry,” I said, “I didn’t know that.”
“Oh because women can’t be lawyers?” she shouted at me.
Before I could even open my mouth Megan lost it. She screamed at Jennifer for two minutes about how I’m not a sexist and it was horrible of her to even dare suggest it and anyone who calls herself a feminist would never throw out an accusation like that. It honestly made it that much sweeter when, in the silence that fell after her rant I then got to say to Jennifer, “Oh and by the way, I used to work at a law firm where three of the four partners were women and where women significantly outnumbered men on the staff, so I actually do know that women can be lawyers because I used to work for female lawyers.”
After class Megan said to me, “Don’t worry Schnit, if you were a sexist I’d tell you.”
I’m sure you would have, Megan. I’m sure you would have.
15. No body, you hear that?
Circa 1995, when I was in 6th grade, I was scrawny and smaller than every other kid (luckily that changed when I got older). There was a one fellow who was a stereotypical cool kid right out a movie…very arrogant persona.
I didn’t not like him, and we didn’t not get along… but we had very little reason to ever speak to each other ever for any reason either. We maybe exchanged two sentences in the last 6+ years of school. I was the opposite of cool, but I generally got along with everyone on some level. And while I didn’t hate him or anything, we certainly weren’t friends.
One day some angry kid decided he was going to start bullying someone, and he picked me randomly…even though I barely ever talked to him (continued).
16. Real life superhero.
It was the 8th grade, we were playing handball in gym, one kid I absolutely hated was on my team. He just gave off that cocky vibe and I just didn’t like him.
But one day a kid shoved me to the ground from behind while I had the ball and the kid comes in like Superman and football trucks this kid to the ground. We became sort of friends but never really hung out except for the classes we had together.
P.S. All 3 of us involved got write ups.
He sucker-punched/pushed me from behind and knocked me down face first, then started charging at me like an angry bull while I was on the ground.
Then, before I knew what the heck was even happening, in comes popular kid sprinting in from out of nowhere and tackled the angry kid into the lockers.
When the teachers pulled him off the angry bully kid, the cool kid who just saved my butt started yelling, “HE PUSHED [MY NAME] ON THE GROUND FROM BEHIND AND WAS ABOUT TO ATTACK HIM FOR NO REASON! [MY NAME] HAS NEVER DONE ANYTHING TO ANYONE! WHAT WAS I SUPPOSED TO DO!?” and he got a week detention for it (I tried my best to vouch for him but the teachers didn’t care…the policy was if you fight..week detention at the very least).
From then on, I always had a silent mutual respect for him.
17. His not-so-silent guardian.
There was this dude I went to school with for a long time. He was the type of person that would always BS everyone about stupid stuff that most people knew wasn’t true. This made him mostly un-liked.
I never really had a big problem with him but I didn’t love the guy. There were two separate occasions where I did or said something that would’ve gotten me in trouble and for some reason, when the teacher asked, “Who did/said this?!”, he took the blame. For no reason!
I’ll never understand why but man I appreciate that. We’re friends on FB and he’s got a fianc and his own landscaping business. I’m really happy for him.
18. Honesty is the best policy.
I went undiagnosed with Bipolar Disorder for about 15 years. In the course of that time, I spent a few years working badly for Walmart. We had one manager who had transferred in some months beforehand who was an angry, picky, detail-oriented jerk where nothing would please her.
Anyway, I wind up having a suicidal depressive crash and straight up no-called, no-showed work for about three weeks straight. Walmart’s policy at the time was to go through a two or three step process before firing someone. I was on the second to last step. It was called a “Decision Day”. Essentially, they wrote you up and you had to write a couple paragraphs on how you were going to decide to stay with the company and how you were going to fix the problem.
Up to that time, I had spent about 10 or 11 years completely messing up my life. Explaining away my erratic and strange behaviors because I didn’t have the perspective to understand that I was seriously mentally ill at the time. I was so weary from trying to explain away all of those erratic behaviors that I just didn’t have the energy to do it again.
So I wrote exactly what occurred (continued).
I saw a little boy hug a plastic santa. And he had this warm, beautiful, pure smile on his face. And it caused my brain to churn out all of these emotions about my own son who lived on the other side of the country, who I rarely got to see and couldn’t keep my life together worth a crap to actually be a dad for. It crashed me into a suicidal depression and all I could do for most of that three weeks was sleep, stare at the wall, or sob as I couldn’t stop thinking about ending my life. And at the end where I was asked what I was going to do to change it – I simply wrote “I don’t know.”
Manager comes in, stone faced and angry as usual. She reads it. Demeanor completely melts away. She starts crying. The reason she had transferred to our store was her husband had ran off with a 20-year-old and left her with their kids and it spun her into suicidal depression as well. She had transferred stores to try and make a new start with a new change of scenery and had was having a rough time adjusting.
She helped me find resources, went to bat for me with the store manager, and always took additional time to find out how I was doing. I’d like to say that was the point I started getting things turned around, but I was still too unstable and ignorant to really make the most of the resources that were made available to me at the time. I continued cruising through insanity for a couple more years before I finally hit rock bottom for the final time and started to get my life turned around.
That whole situation taught me a very important lesson though. There are a lot of angry, bitter people in the world; but many of them have a very good reason for being that way. I do my best to not be judgmental and treat everyone with kindness, even when they are difficult or unkind towards me – the exception being physicality.
It’s always amused me how so many people equate “treating other people with kindness and understanding” to being a pacifist.
Here’s to ya, Joyce. I hope life has gotten better for you wherever you may be now.
19. Not just a pretty face.
In high school. Nice gal, red hair, profoundly attractive. Was in the popular sporty clique. Not really my crowd.
Was during sophomore biology class and I got paired with her for some project. I was INCREDIBLY shy and her being profoundly attractive didn’t help at all. She wasn’t super smart, but had a good work ethic. I had to help explain a lot of the concepts to her a few times, but that was ok with me because I did pretty well academically.
One of her (guy) friends was hovering around us while we were talking about the project in the hallway, and he out of the blue made some comment about my moustache looking like a poo smear. Before I could even whimper out a reply she said, “Why the heck are you being such a jerk to such a nice person?”
That moment really stuck with me.
20. To the rescue!
I had a friend of a friend that everyone called T-dog. T-dog and I didn’t get along all that well, but we ran in two circles of friends that interacted a lot, so we tolerated each other. He got into a lot of trouble as a kid, kicked out of multiple schools, arrested a few times for fighting or drugs, but his big thing was he was loyal to a fault. I had gotten into similar but smaller amounts of trouble.
When I was 17 I was with a friend, both pretty drunk at a taco shop. We were waiting in line when the guy in front on me turns around suddenly and says, “You better step back.”
I immediately exacerbated things by saying, “What the heck are you talking about?” (continued)
He didn’t like that, and started to go on an absolute tear. Screaming, yelling, and cussing. It goes on so long that he gets the burrito he had ordered, walks out to his truck and puts it in there, and walks back into the restaurant all while screaming at me.
I’m a beanpole, 6’5″ but skinny and with a glass jaw to boot. My friend was about 5’6″, so when everything starts going south I’m freaking out because this guy is pretty built.
But right as the first punch gets thrown, T-dog, who I didn’t even know had entered the restaurant, cracks the guy in the side of the face like Batman.
Guy is out cold on the floor from one hit, and T-dog just says, “Sup guys” and BOOKS it out the door.
21. This is what it means to give someone the shirt off your back.
In 7th grade, I puked all over myself in the hallway outside my shop class. It was fairly early in the semester, and I didn’t quite know my way around that part of the building yet. I didn’t make it to the nearest bathroom in time. Puked all over my shoes and shirt, my pants relatively spared. Mortified, I ran into the bathroom and desperately tried to clean myself up.
I washed my face and wiped down my shoes, but there was no saving the top. I just stood there in my undershirt and cried. Then the door opened, and in walked a girl that I shared a cool, yet fairly civil relationship with (continued).
She looked at me and then, without a word, pulled off her sweatshirt, and then her T-shirt. She handed me the T-shirt, and put her sweatshirt back on. I thanked her profusely, and her only response was, “Your shirt is gross. Make sure you give that back.” Then she peed, and left. (Didn’t wash her hands, but I withheld judgement due to her total hero move.) I returned the shirt two days later.
Our relationship went on to develop into a nasty, gossipy high school girl rivalry thing. She started rumors, I retaliated, reverse the roles, repeat; the whole standard cycle of girl warfare.
But I never have forgotten that one moment in the bathroom, when she had my sobbing, puke covered back.
Im at the laundromat a few years ago when I get into a bit of a pissing match with this grumpy old guy over the good dryer. If youve ever had the misfortune of washing your clothes at one of these horrible places, you know that any equipment that is in working order, or at least reasonably clean, is in high demand. Anyway, I start to toss my wet stuff in there and he comes over shouting about how he was saving the dryer. I protest for a minute but then blow it off and tell him to put his stuff in there if its so damned important. He calls me a loser, I call him a jerk, then we go on with our business.
For the next 20 minutes or so we stand there, both angry and posturing. It was strange. Then, out of nowhere, some guy (you know, the kind who eventually wander into ALL laundromats) comes barreling through the front doors. Think Kramer on a bender, but with a sideways baseball cap and more face tattoos. He immediately starts harassing people for money and running off at the mouth about Jesus (continued).
Hes gradually making his way toward the back where were folding our clothes, and Im thinking Im about to have some kind of interaction with him. I shoot the old guy a look to see if hes aware of whats going on. Old guy must feel my eyes on him because eventually he looks up and gives me a knowing nod.
Sure enough, the guy spots and heads right for us. At this range, I can see how clearly whacked he is. Eyes are pinned wide-open and fingers playing an imaginary piano. Without a word, he leans over the counter and starts pawing through our stuff. We both start yelling at the guy to back off.
The guy pays us no attention and continues tearing through the clothes. Thats when the old man yells, Get him!
Before I can even process whats happening, the old man latches onto this guy and starts a wrestling match. He has him by the wrists and is grappling for position. The only thing I can think of is to wrap the guy’s head up in a bear hug. So, I do it. And there we are…me, Kramer, and the old man.
We hold him there until he promises to leave. As soon as we loosen our grip, he bolts out the door never to be seen again. The old man and I look at each other and smirk. He finishes up before I do and leaves without ever saying a word about it.
23. Glad she came clean.
Back in second grade, a girl I didn’t like threw me under the bus for something I didn’t do. She had a voice similar to mine, and was talking in class. The teacher thought it was me and I got a detention. A few hours later, the teacher asked me if I was sorry, and I responded I didn’t know what she was talking about. I was about to get another detention when the girl cut my teacher off and confessed.
Over many years, the girl and I reconciled, and she’s a pretty nice girl now. I’m glad we weren’t enemies forever.
24. One small gesture can mean the world to someone.
My grandmother died 7 years ago, one year before I graduated from college. I couldn’t bear the grief. I spent two days sitting next to her coffin at her funeral crying my eyes out. I would get up just to see her face, trying to remember how it felt when I held her hands, and just cry. One night, after many members of my family had failed in trying to force me to sleep, one of my cousins sat next to me.
We had never talked in our lives. I didn’t like her very much, we were always at our core very different people. I used to think she was ignorant, loud and annoying, and just overall a dumb person. I was wrong.
So she sat next to me and I was at that point inconsolable. She said, “You know, you’re sitting here next to her because you can take it. If it was the other way around and you were in that coffin, it probably would have killed her.”
I already knew that. No parent should bury their child. I was meant to see her die, it’s just how it is. But I hadn’t thought of it until that moment. We’ve never spoken since and I don’t really think she knows how much she helped me that day. It was nice.