Most people rarely, if ever, go out of their way to help others. Especially strangers!
These people went above and beyond to help others in need, and their stories will restore your faith in humanity. Grab the tissues!
Check out the source link at the article if you’d like to read more.
I was in a hurry and stopped at a gas station to fill up. While I was outside my car a man came up to me and asked if I could spare a buck or two for gas, he, his wife, and his daughter were traveling but were broke and barely made it to the station. They had a broken down old volvo and it was clear that they were vagabonds of some sort who lived in their car. The kid was at most two years old. I was pretty low on cash myself but I thought hey what the hell, I could use some affirmation that people can be kind if I were in their situation. So I swiped my card at their pump and said, “Fill it up. Good luck to you and your family, I hope this can get you where you’re going” and walked away. He started crying as I left and I would have lost it too if I wasn’t too proud to do so in public. To see a grown man cry like that – both for having received an unexpected gift and for having to be put in the position of begging to keep his family safe, was one of the most profound experiences of my life. I haven’t told anyone until now.
I was at the airport waiting for a connection and I had just finished the last Harry Potter book. I walked to the airport bookstore for something new and there was a woman with 2 blind kids (pre-teen and teen). She was reading Harry Potter to them from the display and they listened joyfully. I had never seen kids so enraptured! Obviously she wasn’t going to get far in the book. I asked her about it and she said she couldn’t afford the book, so she reads them a few pages every time they are at a bookstore. I told her to stay right there and I ran back to my luggage, got my hard bound copy and ran it to them. They were shocked. The kids reached up and touched my face and thanked me with such emotion, I nearly cried.
I’m awakened by my mom around 1:30 am. “Get up, there’s a fire, we have to go outside.” she says. I’m freaking out but I don’t smell smoke. I assemble outside with my mother and younger brother and sister. Down the street a townhouse in the same row as ours is engulfed in flames. I don’t see my father around so I ask my mom.
“He went to see if he could help.” she says. I can hear the nervousness in her voice, my father is known to be rather bold. The story as it was told to me as an adult goes like this:
My father arrives after the fire department and learns that a man is alive inside, possibly lost. The FD won’t go in after the man because they do not feel that it is safe yet. My dad is like, “Screw that.” and (clad in only his long-johns) breaks a window and enters the home. He finds the man at the top of the stairs, badly burned and unable to walk. He carries the man down the stairs and out the front door. The firemen treat my dad briefly for smoke inhalation and the cops take a statement.
The man he carried from the house died after a week in the hospital, but his family was grateful that he had a chance to say goodbye. The county awarded my dad a plaque and Comcast gave us free cable for a year. He never talks about it and it was so long ago that no one he knows is aware that it ever happened.
About a week ago my 5 year old asked me if superheroes were real. I told him the story of the day his grandfather was a superhero and I almost couldn’t finish. I hope that one day my son will feel that kind of pride in me.
I heard a fight outside my apt. one night. I looked outside and saw the fight but couldn’t tell if it was a man beating up a woman or a teenage boy (I couldn’t find my glasses). I called 911 and told them what I saw and while I was on the phone the man started dragging the other person around the corner of the building. I told the operator that I couldn’t see them anymore and that I had to go. Contemplating bringing a weapon with me as I threw on shoes and pants I decided it would be best to go bare handed. If the other guy had a gun or something he would have already used it to subdue his victim. I ran outside and quickly scanned the area and bam there he was on top of this woman. He had stripped her and thrown her clothes on top of an 8′ hedge. He was about to rape her. I hollered at him to get up and told her to come stand behind me. It was January and she was naked and freezing. I quickly took off my coat and gave it to her, never taking my eyes off the guy. Now at the time I was in very good shape and probably looked a lot tougher than I do today, this was nearly 20 years ago. The guy looked like he might try to fight me but I told him that I had called the cops and that they’d be here any minute and that his best bet was to get in his car and get the hell out of there. (I got his license plate as he drove off). The first thing the girl says is “can you get my underpants please”, so I climbed the fence next to the hedge and got all her stuff. I let her go into my apartment and lock herself in the bathroom while we waited for the cops.
When I lived in the city an older lady about 90 got her apartment robbed in my building. They went in and stole all her cash and took some valuables that she had. She did not have a bank account so the thieves took about 30K of the lady’s life savings. She was afraid of being evicted from the apartment because she wouldn’t have the rent money and did not want to end up in a state-run nursing home. I called the landlord and paid her rent in full for the rest of the year, five months worth and told the landlord not to tell her it was me. I also had groceries delivered to her once a week for the next two months until she had some money saved from her social security checks. I never told anyone what I had done for her and I don’t think she even knew my name because the apt building had about 50 apartments in it. The landlord was the only one who knew and he wanted to tell her what I was doing but I told him that I would deny it. I did not want her to feel indebted to me. She posted a letter in the lobby of the building to thank whoever had helped her. I took the letter down and kept it. The landlord still writes to me every few months to tell me how she is doing. She is still living in the apt seven years later. I never told anyone.
I let go of a girl I love so she could be happy.
This one is cheating a little, because it wasn’t actually me, but it has inspired me to do a lot more selfless things in my life:
When I was 14 or so I went with my dad to Target. He was doing some general Christmas shopping but also had a list from an impoverished inner-city family. It was handwritten notes from each of four children in the family. They were instructed by the charity running the program to keep their requests reasonable. But my dad read every one and went way overboard.
One kid asked for a video game for a previous gen system. My dad bought him a PS2 (which was new at the time) and a bunch of games. One of the daughters asked for a modest desk to do her schoolwork on. He bought her a really cool one and threw in every kind of school supply she could possibly need. And so on for the other two kids. He ended up spending a lot of money on this family. When he saw how jealous I was of the PS2 (I’d really been wanting one badly) he looked at me and said, “I want you to stop and really think about who this is going to and what their life is probably like and what it will feel like for them to open this on Christmas. If you do that and still want it I’ll give it to you instead.”
And so that’s the story of how I got my rad new PS2. Just kidding, it’s how I learned about the joy of giving and that my dad’s a pretty cool guy.
When I was working as a summer job in our local hospital I got paged to a room by a patient. Usually what they wanted for me to do is shift their position or get them some water or something similar. This time the old lady asked me to come to her and take her hand. She told me “I don’t want to die alone.” I assured her that she would not die alone. After a few silent moments of her just staring at me smiling she said “Thank you, goodbye.” and then she died.
When I got my settlement check for getting my finger cut off at work I kept $2000 dollars and put the rest in the bank. That night after dinner and drinks I was coming home and saw a homeless man (25-30) that I’ve seen several times before, posted up against a wall near the intersection shivering in the cold. Since there were 3 hotels at that intersection, I stopped, rented a room for a week on my debit card then took the key out of the envelope, replaced it with $1700 and walked over to the gentleman to hand him the key and cash.
No kidding, I saw him a month or so later working at a gas station, clean, shaved and nice hair. I’m not sure if he recognized me but I’m glad because I recognized him and he appeared to be happy and doing well which said enough. I haven’t seen him in several years but I like to think he’s back on his feet, maybe a family, a house, whatever really but just doing well.
I secretly replace chrome ornaments and decals that fall off of people’s cars where I work. A while back someone at work (no idea who) had gotten a brand new Cougar, and the C fell off of the back so it just said “ougar”. I passed the car every day for about a month, and on the way home I stopped at the Ford dealership and ordered a new chrome letter set (they wouldn’t let me get just the C), then quietly put the C back on when no one was around. Can you imagine coming out to your car and something that fell off of it is now magically back on it? I try to look for missing letters and badges now and replace them just to make people’s lives a little more surreal and magical.
When I am heating up my lunch at work and I retrieve it from the microwave with 0:01 remaining, I clear it back out to 0:00 for the next person.
I’ve been lucky and have had the opportunity to do different things in my life that allowed me to meet people that I could support – no questions asked.
But there’s one thing that always sticks out to me above all the other things that would seem like a lot bigger deal on paper.
I ran a summer long day camp for kids in a neighborhood that’s always labeled as ‘troubled’ ‘violence ridden’ etc. etc. You know the type. The media loves it.
There was this one 8 year old boy who drove me up the wall. Not a day would go by when he wouldn’t steal, or hit/kick/punch/bite, or be verbally abusive to myself, my team and other kids. Not a day went by where I didn’t have to send him home early.
But every morning he was the first kid to arrive, sometimes showing up an hour early. So every morning I would hug him, look him in the eyes and say “I’m so glad you’re here today.”
Let me tell you, most days, my emotions did not line up with what I was saying. I mean, this kid caused me so much grief. But every day I did it. Every day I sent him home early because of his behavior, and every morning I welcomed him back without question.
That was one of the hardest nicest things I’ve ever done. But I think about that kid every day. I learned more about his family life – it was hell. Absolute hell. So I hope that for a couple hours he felt like someone wanted him around.
My great uncle was a quiet guy. He wasn’t around much. He lived in a small town.
But when he died a LOT of people came to the funeral. Way more than expected.
Turns out he’d spent a lot of his time volunteering, visiting with old folks, talking with people in hospice, the food pantry, etc. etc. He never told anyone. When he died all the people from these different volunteer organizations showed up along with the people he’d helped. Line was around the block to the funeral.
In high school we had a Valentine’s card/rose delivery system (I think they raised money for charity or something). I’d pick a few people every year that I didn’t know and send them an anonymous delivery.
It had such an impact on the people who got them, the I kept the tradition up through college and law school. I’ll still organize random flower deliveries for people that I kinda know but seem like they’re having a bad week.
My best friend’s girlfriend wanted to hook up with me and I turned her down. At the time they went on a break. I basically told her how awesome of a guy he is and she needs to realize what she’s doing. They got back together shortly after that. I never told him. They got married this past summer. =)
One day in my local games store I just wandered in to see what I could get for my cousin’s birthday. I was absent-mindedly browsing when I heard a large crash behind me- some whiny brat had thrown over a display and sent games everywhere. His brother (I’m guessing it was his brother, anyway) scurried over and started picking up all the games, apologizing for his brother’s actions. This kid looked no older than 10. I was about to go to the checkouts when I saw the family again- The roughly-10-year-old had asked his mum for a game, which she declined- however, whiny brat just had two games bought for him. Whether it was a birthday present or favoritism, I don’t know, but I didn’t like it. So I bought the game for the kid (it was pretty cheap, only 4.99) and told him to keep it a secret from everyone. The look on his face when I said he could have that game warms my heart to this day.
I used to pick up pretty much any hitch hiker I saw. I would even pick up people at the bus stop. It just seemed to me that since I had a car and some free time that it was no big deal to help someone out. I never asked for money or anything like that. It was nice to see the people smile. One day I pickup up a guy about my age( I was 19 at the time) and he was very thankful that I I did. He was telling me about all the stuff he had to do that day and he knew that he would only get 2 or 3 things done because of the buses. I had to be at work soon so I asked him if he knew how to drive standard. He looked at me funny and said yes. I pulled into my work and told him to be back here in 12 hours. I gave him $20 for gas and said bye. The guys at work asked me who he was but I didn’t even remember his name from the short time we rode together. They urged me to call the cops but I told them the kid would be back. After my shift ended my car was there. The kid had the biggest smile on his face and as I drove him home he told me how he was able to get everything done and that I had saved him at least a full day of running around. I saw him from time to time after that. It was nice to hear that because I helped him out he would go out of his way to help others out.
This reminds me of the time I came home from high school to see that my dad has spraypainted “SCREW YOU IDIOT” on the wallpaper in the Kitchen. I forget why he did it, but after I talked to him for an hour he decided that he didn’t mean it. He ended up deciding to pull down the wallpaper and repaint the kitchen for her. My mom never liked the wallpaper and was thrilled to see that he took it down and had 4-5 paint samples for her to choose from. I ended up painting it that next weekend and she was none the wiser.
I’m pretty sure their marriage would have ended had she came home to see that spray painted on the wall.
A local flavored popcorn place in my town will ship popcorn packages to troops overseas. A couple days before Memorial Day I gave them my email address and asked them to send me the bill for the next person who came in and wanted to ship popcorn to their friend/family member serving overseas. If the person buying the popcorn asked why, they were just to say, “Because someone wanted to say thank you.” I was too embarrassed to tell anyone.
One day I was on my way to a job interview, when I saw a man crawling down the side of the road. About 100 yards away, I saw a car crashed into a tree, and assumed that this man had been in that car. So I pulled over, got out of the car, and talked to the guy to make sure he was alright. He said he was, but clearly he wasn’t. His injuries weren’t life threatening by any means, but he was scratched, bruised, disoriented, and old.
I offered to take him to the hospital, but he wouldn’t have it. He didn’t have the money, he said, and with a little more prodding eventually released that his niece is a nurse, and she could get him cleaned up. I asked him where she lived. It was about a 45 minute drive. I told him to get in my car, and I drove him there. Sure enough, his niece cleaned him up, and after some rest, he was ok.
I missed my job interview. I never told anyone why I didn’t get the job.
This story is about a friend I knew years ago. He worked at a hospital cleaning rooms. One night, he was cleaning as usual when a boy saw my friend go by the door to his room where he was a cancer patient. The boy called out and asked him to come in. The boy was alone and very sick and thought my friend was “Jason” from the Power Rangers (back when it was new and popular). His family wasn’t there and he was scared; he wasn’t feeling well at all. So my friend stayed with him, pretending to be “Jason” and doing what he could to cheer the kid up. But the kid was sicker than anyone thought and crashed as he was visiting, dying without his family–but my friend was there to help ease the child’s fear, staying with him through to the end. My friend went home and cried at what had just happened.
Two years ago, I was walking into my local gym for my workout through the parking lot. As I approached, I noticed a car that had pulled halfway out of it’s parking space. Behind the wheel was man in his mid-60’s, evidently on his way to or from his workout. He was slumped over the wheel, clutching his chest. I knocked on the window and got no response. I opened the door and asked him if he needed help.
He looked up at me, pale as a ghost, and mumbled, “I can’t feel my arm. I think I’m having a heart attack.”
I ran into the gym and went to the front desk, told them the situation and aked them to call 911 and get an ambulance immediately. The three people behind the desk fumbled through some corporate policy manual, attempted to call the gym manager, conferred with one another, and basically did everything and anything but pick up the damn phone and dial for help. I pretty quickly realized that these people weren’t going to do anything helpful in time.
I ran back out to the man in the car who was, if anything, even paler than before and was unable to verbalize. So, as gently but quickly as I could, I pushed him into the passenger seat, put his car in gear, and drove as fast as I could to the nearest hospital, which fortunately I knew the location of, running most every red light in the process, and also getting pursued by a police car, in front of whom I’d run several lights.
I pulled into the ER at the hospital and ran in, telling the first nurse I saw that I had a man in the car undergoing a cardiac arrest. The staff rushed out with a gurney and transferred the man to it, while supplying oxygen and checking his vitals, and wheeled him inside with great haste.
About this time, the police officer rolled up and I explained the situation. Fortunately, he let me off. Unfortunately, I was too dumb to ask for a ride back to the gym, where I’d left my own car. So, I walked the five miles back, worked out, and drove home.
About 8 weeks later, I was riding the recumbent bike in the cardio room when someone tapped me on the shoulder. I didn’t recognize the person. Turns out it was the man from earlier, but a lot healthier looking.
He told me his name was Lester, and he said, “You’re the guy who took me to the hospital. The doctor told me if I’d arrived a few minutes later, I’d probably have been dead. You saved my life. I just wanted to say thank you.”
So, that made feel pretty nice. Other than the police pursuing me at the time, I never told anyone about this.
Back when I was poorer than I am today, I used to go through every flyer, clip every coupon, etc. Of course, a lot of coupons would be for things I didn’t buy, but I’d clip them anyway, and when I was in the grocery store, I’d put them on top of the product. That way, someone out doing their shopping would get a nice surprise of a coupon for some money off.
It cost me nothing but a tiny amount of extra time, and hopefully made the world a slightly happier place. And, it’s really pretty easy to do (even if you only do a couple of extra coupons besides your own).
About 4 years ago I was waiting for the train (nyc subway) on my way home from work and I heard a lady yelling about 40 feet away on the other side of the platform. I started walking that way and realized she fell on the tracks (I found out later somebody grabbed her purse and while fighting over it he basically pushed her). Me and another random guy jumped down and basically threw her back up on the platform right before the train came – we made it back up literally right before the train pulled in, closest I ever came to death. Some other people called the police/ambulance, I got out of there before they showed up.
I once broke up with a girlfriend because we were done and to soften the blow (we dated for 2 years) I arranged for her to win a rigged contest for concert tickets (I set it up) because I knew she was dying to go and hadn’t managed to get the tickets. I heard later through friends that it helped her deal and move on which made me smile.
I won a lawsuit and got about 25k in the bank. I dropped about $8k on my debt, $2k on toys for me (laptop), and the rest went into paying off debt for friends and family. $8k went to my sister’s credit cards, $2k went to dental work and other kinds of stuff needed for her. $3-5k on a friend who was about to lose his house.
Besides, I’m horrible with my money… I probably would have wasted it on stupid stuff anyways.
I was day tripping to Vancouver from Seattle and stopped in for lunch at a little cafe. From my window I saw a young teenage girl out in the cold, squatted down in a closed up businesses doorway, holding a small bundle in her arms. She was panhandling, people were mostly walking by ignoring her. She looked just broken.
I finished up my meal and went outside, went through my wallet and thought I’d give her $5 for some food. I got up to her and she was sobbing, she looked like she was 14-15. And that bundle in her arms was a baby wrapped up. I felt like I just got punched in the chest. She looked up putting on a game face and asked for any change, I asked her if she’s like some lunch. Right next door was a small quick-trip type grocery store, I got a can of formula for the baby (very young, maybe 2-3 months old.), and took her back to the cafe though I’d just eaten. She was very thankful, got a burger and just inhaled it. Got her some pie and ice cream. She opened up and we talked. She was 15, got pregnant, parents were angry and she was fighting with them. She ran away. She’s been gone almost 1 full year.
I asked her if she’s like to go home and she got silent. I coaxed her, she said her parents wouldn’t want her back. I coaxed further, she admitted she stole 5k in cash from her Dad. Turns out 5k doesn’t last long at all and the streets are tough on a 15 year old. Very tough. She did want to go back, but she was afraid no one wanted her back after what she did.
We talked more, I wanted her to use my phone to call home but she wouldn’t. I told her I’d call and see if her folks wanted to talk to her, she hesitated and gave bad excuses but eventually agreed. She dialed the number and I took the phone, her Mom picked up and I said hello. Awkwardly introduced myself and said her daughter would like to speak to her, silence, and I heard crying. Gave the phone to the girl and she was just quiet listening to her Mom cry, and then said hello. And she cried. They talked, she gave the phone back to me, I talked to her Mom some more.
I drove her down to the bus station and bought her a bus ticket home. Gave her $100 cash for incidentals, and some formula, diapers, wipes, snacks for the road.
Got to the bus, and she just cried saying thank you over and over. I gave her a kiss on the forehead and a hug, kissed her baby, and she got on the bus.
I get a Christmas card every year from her. She’s 21 now and in college.
Her name is Makayla and her baby was Joe.
I’ve never really told anyone about this. I just feel good knowing I did something good in this world. Maybe it’ll make up for the things I’ve messed up.
I’ve worked at bath and body works for years and I have acquired mountains of this stuff, most of it unopened. It just made me angry looking at it, I don’t need all this crap and it makes me feel bad that I have it. So I made up like 10 nice gift baskets and brought them to the battered woman’s shelter. I didn’t tell anyone though, it just didn’t seem necessary. Except you guys of course, I know it’s not much but it made me happy to do it.